House passes H.R. 279 to extend emergency disaster proclamation for I-95

Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 279, authored by state Rep. Anthony Bellmon, D-Phila., to further extend the emergency disaster proclamation for I-95 and allow work to rebuild the overpass that collapsed due to fire to continue.   

“The I-95 bridge collapse has had a major effect on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the entire northeast United States,” Bellmon said. “We must extend the governor’s emergency declaration to ensure the bridge gets the proper reconstruction it needs so that we don’t witness another catastrophe happen to it, and so travelers can be safe driving on it.” 

Last June, a tanker truck carrying gasoline lost control as it attempted to exit the highway. It caught fire after the crash causing the north and southbound lanes of I-95 to require reconstruction for an undetermined amount of time.  

Gov. Josh Shapiro declared a disaster emergency proclamation on June 12, the day after the accident.  

The first extension was contained in S.R. 136, introduced by state Sen Jimmy Dillion, which extended the proclamation until Nov. 1. That was followed by another extension by offered by state Rep. Pat Gallagher, H.R. 197. The disaster declaration allows the state to continue to access emergency funding and follow streamlined rules for repair work. 

“I am thankful for my House and Senate colleagues for making the reconstruction of I-95 a priority this legislative session.” Said state Rep. Ed Neilson, chairman of the PA House Transportation Committee. “While we had crews working around the clock to ensure that I-95 was open in record time, we need to make sure that the construction is completed safely above all else to avoid catastrophes like this.”  

The resolution is now headed to the Senate for concurrence.