Brewster: Pitcairn, White Oak to Receive State Grant Funds

Brewster: Pitcairn, White Oak to Receive State Grant Funds

Harrisburg – March 26, 2019 – State grant funding including $525,000 for road slide repairs in Pitcairn and $200,000 for a streetscape project in White Oak was approved today, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said.

“The ability to successfully access state resources to address key projects in the area is very important,” Brewster said.  “Many communities need the state dollars to undertake valuable projects and enhance the quality of life in their communities.

“Local municipalities try to stretch dollars to meet needs, yet critical projects cannot be considered unless the state steps up to help fill funding gaps.”

The money for Pitcairn and White Oak was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority. 

The projects include:

  • Pitcairn Borough: Center Avenue slide remediation project involves cutting the hillside, removing material, stabilizing the hill and relocating portions of Center Avenue between Fifth and Highland Avenues ($525,000);
  • White Oak: Streetscape and pedestrian safety improvements along Lincoln Way including new light poles, electrical work and street signs ($200,000).

Brewster said that he would continue to be a strong advocate for funding and work to bring even more state funding to the district through other state programs.

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Brewster: Funding Approved for Crime Victims Programs in Allegheny, Westmoreland

Brewster: Funding Approved for Crime Victims Programs in Allegheny, Westmoreland

Harrisburg – March 13, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has approved funding for numerous programs to aid victims in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

“The funding is critical for important programs to address those impacted by crime,” Brewster said.  “The dollars will help fund outreach activities, training, improved communications, advocacy and those impacted by crime.”

Brewster said a total of nearly $6 million was approved for a wide range of programs in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.  The funding is available through the Victims of Crime Act and includes both non-competitive and competitive grants.  Among others, the grant recipients include:

  • Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center                                                                   $225,430
  • Center for Victims                                                                                     $571,538
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates of Allegheny County                $2,159
  • Neighborhood Legal Services                                                                 $244,803
  • Womens Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh                           $511,251
  • Center for Victims                                                                                     $1,265,361
  • Casa of Westmoreland Inc.                                                                     $173,174

PCCD supports justice-related programs with a focus on research, police and support services.  The approved funding support programs that serve individuals countywide.

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Brewster Ties Extraction Levy to Environmental Protection, Education, Security Initiatives

Brewster Ties Extraction Levy to Environmental Protection, Education, Security Initiatives

Harrisburg – March 13, 2019 – A new plan to use revenue generated from an energy extraction tax to provide school funding, safety investments and environmental protection initiatives will soon be introduced by state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland).

“The ability to use a responsible energy extraction tax to fund worthwhile initiatives in education and environmental protection creates opportunities without undue burden on the industry,” Brewster said.  “My plan not only invests revenue from a shale tax into basic education and school safety initiatives, it would also release millions to pay for new pipeline and safety inspectors, plus fund environmental cleanup.

“The plan would not affect the impact fee payments that now go to local governments.”

Brewster said his plan would place a five percent severance tax on the value of gas extracted at the well head. While the local impact fee would remain in place, gas drillers could deduct what they pay in impact fee monies against what severance taxes they owe.

The McKeesport lawmaker said the extraction tax would raise approximately $502 million per year.  Minus the $230 million in impact fee payments to local governments, the remaining $272 million would be evenly split between education and environmental protection initiatives. 

“Tying extraction revenue to specific uses ensures transparency and validates the tax,” Brewster said.  “Revenue generated will not be wasted.”  

Brewster said the estimated $136 million raised for education would be used to increase subsidies to public schools and improve school safety and security. He said the increased subsidy payments could help local school boards reduce or hold the line on property taxes.

The other $136 million would pay for a concerted effort to improve pipeline safety and address environmental issues.  Ten percent of allotted environmental funds would be used to facilitate more pipeline safety inspectors. Another 10 percent would be earmarked towards increasing staffing at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  Eighty percent of environmental funding would be used for various environmental cleanup programs across the state.

Brewster has introduced a version of the plan in previous sessions.  In the 2015-2016 session, he authored Senate Bill 395.

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Brewster Reappointed to Port Authority Board

Brewster Reappointed to Port Authority Board

McKeesport − March 7, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) was recently reappointed to serve on the board of directors for the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

“Public transportation has always been a priority for me,” Brewster said.  “Accessible public transportation is an important feature of a community’s quality of life and is an essential element in the development of business and industry.”

Brewster, who has been a member of the board since 2013, was reappointed by Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). Brewster serves as board secretary. 

“Public transportation helps build a strong economy by making employment opportunities accessible,” he said. “An efficient public transportation system is good for workers and their companies. Public transportation connects workers to their jobs in urban, suburban, and rural areas.”

Brewster has long been an advocate for an enhanced public transportation system.  He supported additional funding for mass transit systems that added routes and service in various communities. 

In 2018, the Port Authority conducted a customer satisfaction survey that revealed that nearly 60 percent of customers use the service five or more days per week, and 90 percent at least three days a week.

“There are many challenges that we face in public transportation and hurdles to overcome,” Brewster said. “I am confident that by working together we can rebuild and restructure our public transit system to meet the needs of public transit consumers throughout the county.”

The Port Authority is the second-largest transportation system in the state, employing about 2,600 people and serving approximately 200,000 daily riders.

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