NORRISTOWN, PA – Today Dr. Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Commissioners attended the Communities in Action: Building a Better Pennsylvania event at the White House. During her visit, Chair Arkoosh highlighted how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are bringing direct investment to Montgomery County residents.
“Historic levels of Federal investment have already begun to make an impact here in Montgomery County,” said Dr. Val Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “These funds are helping to rebuild our infrastructure, transition to clean energy, and provide housing to our most vulnerable residents.”
Numerous large-scale projects are now fully funded or targeted for potential funding as these Federal programs continue to be implemented. A snapshot of investments throughout Montgomery County are listed below.
- DeKalb Street Two-Way Conversion (Norristown) – This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funded project will convert a major historic street back to two-way traffic. This road redesign will reduce crashes, speeding, and contribute to the economic vitality of the Municipality of Norristown’s communities of color.
- PA 29/PA 113 Intersection Widening (Collegeville) – This project funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will add turning lanes at the county’s most congested intersection to make it easier for commuters and residents to get around.
- 309 Connector Phase 4 (Towamencin) – Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding allows the County to add additional turn lane space to a heavily congested intersection (Route 63, Old Forty Food Road, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike onramp) into the existing 309 Connector project to construct a new freight connection between two major highways.
- Local Bridges (Countywide) – Four structurally deficient bridges will be rehabilitated or replaced thanks to this funding. These bridges (Pleasant View Road, Gilbertsville Road, Allentown Road, and Black Rock Road) have received approval for final design and construction thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s immediate funding for the Bridge Investment Program.
- County-Owned Bridges (Countywide) – As a result of the new historic funding levels in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Bridge Investment Program, Montgomery County can accelerate its aggressive bridge replacement efforts by fully funding two new bridge projects, Bridge 10 (Woodmont Road) and Bridge 289 (Penllyn-Blue Bell Pike). Without this funding, these projects would have been put on hold for future funding cycles.
- Regional Multi-Use Trail Implementation (Countywide) – Pennsylvania’s Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TASA) program was expanded with funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, allowing for more multi-use trail construction in the state and the Southeastern Pennsylvania region specifically. This funding has also allowed the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to invest money in much-needed project management activity which will help Southeastern PA counties complete their portion of the world-class Circuit Trail network, which will ultimately cover 500 miles of connected trails across the Philadelphia Metropolitan Region.
- Schuylkill Valley Passenger Rail Restoration (Countywide) – Montgomery County established a local authority with two other counties to restore intercity passenger rail service between Philadelphia and Reading. The effort is partnering with AMTRAK and will be applying to USDOT for Corridor ID funding for planning and implementation.
- King of Prussia Rail (Upper Merion Township & Bridgeport) – This four-mile extension of SEPTA’s Norristown High-Speed Line into King of Prussia, the region’s largest employment center outside of Philadelphia, is about to enter the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants program, whose funding was doubled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The project would provide alternative, reliable transportation for thousands of daily commuters and connect the region’s three largest job centers.
- Additional Norristown High-Speed Line Projects (Upper Merion Township & Bridgeport) – When the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided SEPTA with $95 million dollars in new formula funding this spring, the transit agency used the money in part to boost underfunded efforts to modernize signals along the Norristown High Speed Line and to make ADA improvements to the Bridgeport station.
CLEAN ENERGY & CLIMATE RESILIENCY PROJECTS
- Norristown Dam Hydroelectric Facility (Norristown) – As part of the County’s effort to power its government facilities with clean energy, the County is pursuing the installation of a hydroelectric generating facility on the Norristown Dam. This would have the potential to generate at least half of the electricity (two megawatts) needed to power the County’s Norristown campus. This project is eligible for funding the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Clean Energy and Power programs.
- County Correctional Facility Renewable Solar Generation (Eagleville) – The County is working toward installation of a solar array at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility campus. There is the potential for a 2,250-kilowatt facility on the site, and this project is also eligible for funds through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Clean Energy and Power programs.
- Energy Efficiency Programs (Countywide) – The Inflation Reduction Act will make it more affordable for Montgomery County residents to purchase energy efficient appliances when they need to, make repairs around their homes, and save money on their utility bills each month, through:
- Rebates covering 50-100% of the cost of installing new electric appliances, including super-efficient heat pumps, water heaters, clothes dryers, stoves, and ovens. In Pennsylvania, millions of low- and moderate-income households are eligible for rebates.
- Rebates for households to make repairs and improvements in single-family and multi-family homes to increase energy efficiency.
- Tax credits covering 30% of the costs to install solar panels and battery storage systems, make home improvements that reduce energy leakage, or upgrade heating and cooling equipment.
- Climate Resiliency Projects (Countywide) – The Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law both provide provisions to upgrade affordable housing and fund projects that boost resilience in the face of intensifying extreme weather. In Pennsylvania, tens of thousands of people live in affordable housing units that are eligible for upgrades like flood-proofing and storm resistance, as well as clean energy and electrification. In the last decade, Pennsylvania has experienced 37 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damages. To date, Montgomery County has incurred almost $25 million in costs related to recovery from Hurricane Ida. These new funds could help the County manage against pressing challenges like impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.
- Emergency Rental Assistance Program (Countywide) – ARPA funding has allowed Montgomery County to distribute over $70 million dollars in emergency rent and utility assistance to more than 7,000 households who have experienced financial impacts due to COVID-19. Utilizing an equity lens, the vast majority of funds were provided to households in census tracts with majority low-income renters who have higher risk factors of housing instability and homelessness.
- Housing Opportunities Fund (Countywide) – $5.5 million dollars in ARPA funds will establish the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Fund. This fund will allow the County to acquire blighted properties, hotels for sale, and land in Transit Overlay Districts to construct more affordable housing. ARPA investment has overall invested more than $32 million in funding to support longer-term solutions around housing, providing housing opportunity, and to support initiatives of our housing partners. This funding will support at least 325 new affordable housing units, the creation of two new emergency housing facilities, preservation of existing affordable units, expansion of first-time homeownership, and support robust future affordable housing.
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