Burns brings $1.2 million back to Jackson Township for natural gas pipeline

(Nov 21, 2023)

EBENSBURG, Nov. 21 – Working with the Jackson Township supervisors, state Rep. Frank Burns announced today that Jackson Township is receiving more than $1.2 million in state funding to extend a natural gas pipeline into the Jackson Township Business Park. The natural gas pipeline will be extended from Benshoff Hill Road to the business park on Laurel Ridge Road so that Waste Management can connect to it for its Laurel Highlands Hauling Co. and CNG Fueling Station. “The extension of this pipeline not only will enable Waste Management to convert its truck fleet to compressed natural gas, but it will create 120 full-time jobs,” Burns said. “Getting natural gas to the Jackson Township Business Park is critical to attracting additional businesses and jobs to the area.” Jackson Township supervisors Bruce Baker, John Wallet and Fred Meier said the funding is vital to the business park project, which is beginning to take shape with the installation of water, sewer and highway improvements to Route 22. “ This grant for natural gas to the park is vital to us securing our first tenant,” the township supervisors said in a joint statement. “This tenant will create approximately 120 family sustaining jobs and be a draw for additional tenants. They will use natural gas to fuel their fleet of trucks. The gas line extension will also serve approximately 62 homes along the way. The business Read more

 

Merski: $38 million in funding secured for Erie City Water Authority projects

(Oct 18, 2023)

ERIE, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Robert Merski, D-Erie announced that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority has approved funding totaling $38 million – including $14 million in nonrepayable funding and $24 million in low-interest loans – to allow the Erie Water Authority to perform major projects including replacement of corroded, outdated lead piping for customers and construction of a new pumping station. “Erie County has seen substantial investments and a massive overhaul of its infrastructure over the last several years,” Merski said. “These improvements directly impact the quality of life for our residents and are a result of community leaders working in unison to deliver tangible results that will be felt for generations. “Good government initiatives are rooted in keeping more money in people’s pockets. Without this loan, user rates for those within the service area would have increased by a staggering 74%. That would have been unacceptable, and I am thrilled we were able to work toward a solution to ensure residents receive the high-quality water service they deserve.” The $18 million in funding for replacement of service connections includes approximately $14 million that does not need to be repaid, plus approximately $4 million in repayable loan funding. The funding will support replacement of nearly 2,500 service connections consisting of iron pipe attached Read more

 

Burns: Johnstown awarded $100k to bolster emergency services

(Sep 15, 2023)

“Securing this funding is going to help ensure that Johnstown’s frontline heroes have the resources they need – from updated equipment to hazard-free facilities – to stay safe as they continue their lifesaving work," Burns said. Read more

 

Patton Township recognizes Conklin for crucial support in sinkhole crisis; successfully disperses funds to impacted residents

(Sep 15, 2023)

STATE COLLEGE, Sept. 15 – This week marked a milestone for Patton Township as it honored state Rep. Scott Conklin and his executive director, Nicholas Himebaugh, on Wednesday for their advocacy and support in helping residents displaced by the massive sinkhole that engulfed a Georgetown Park townhome complex last Christmas. Conklin, D-Centre, was instrumental in securing $180,000 in state funds for immediate relief, which the township has successfully dispersed to help severely impacted residents with emergency shelter needs and the costs of engineering assessments, inspections and renovations. “My team and I are humbled and deeply moved by the proclamation and standing ovation we received,” Conklin said. “I extend my gratitude to Supervisor Robb, the entire board and the township staff for their dedicated work in this collaboration. My executive director, Nicholas Himebaugh, has been pivotal in ensuring these funds were secured and effectively delivered.” “Working alongside Representative Conklin to serve the Patton Township community has been profoundly rewarding,” Himebaugh said. “His unwavering commitment to the residents of the 77th District showcases his passion for serving as their voice in the People’s House.” Conklin noted that last year, 3.3 million Americans were displaced because of natural disasters – a figure that increases substantially when accounting for “unnatural' Read more

 

Burns: Johnstown awarded $150k for comprehensive recovery plan

(Sep 13, 2023)

"Raising taxes on workers in the city is not a sound strategy for economic recovery,” Burns said. “Securing this new funding will help ensure that as Johnstown continues on the path to economic recovery, it will be guided by the smartest strategies and that any final plan will be based on input from our own residents, businesses and workers." Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Erie public schools to share $2M in federal funding to launch student health initiative

(Sep 01, 2023)

ERIE, Sept. 1 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today that Erie public schools will share $2 million in federal funding to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model – a comprehensive framework to improve student learning and health. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will be awarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Erie’s public schools through 2028 to create a template that other schools throughout the state can adopt. “As an educator, I know that the children who enter our doors every day are a product of their families and their communities,” Merski said. “This federal funding to the state Department of Health and Erie’s public schools will help us to integrate and collaborate to improve that mind-body connection. “We know that a child who is physically healthy and emotionally and socially well-adjusted performs better in school. Using a ‘whole child’ approach has been shown to increase student achievement and lower maladaptive behaviors such as truancy, tardiness and discipline issues.” Harkins said, “Investments in student health like the universal free school breakfast program are critical, but proper nutrition is only part of the equation. With this new funding and guidance from the Department of Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $150K secured to construct, maintain Erie snowmobile trails

(Aug 29, 2023)

ERIE, Aug. 29 – Three grants totaling $150,000 will fund the purchase of equipment to construct and maintain more than 300 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie and surrounding counties, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources include: $115,000 to Tri-County Snowblazers Inc. for equipment to maintain and construct approximately 90 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie, Warren and Crawford counties. $24,000 to Wales Sno-Drifters Inc. for equipment to maintain and construct approximately 50 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie County. $11,000 to McKean Area Snowmobile Club Inc. for equipment to maintain and construct approximately 162 miles of snowmobile trails in Erie, Crawford and Warren counties. “An extended season for winter sports like snowmobiling is one of our area’s unique attractions. But maintaining safe trails is costly,” Merski said. “The new funding will help ensure that our area organizations have the equipment they need to keep the trails groomed and maintained on a regular basis.” Harkins said, “Trail quality and safety play a huge part in what kind of experience folks have and whether they want to return for repeat adventures. Our region is fortunate to have clubs whose members are Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $500,000 awarded for Erie traffic safety improvements

(Aug 24, 2023)

ERIE, Aug. 24 – New traffic safety enhancements are coming to Erie thanks to $500,000 in new state funding, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grant – awarded by the state Department of Transportation under the Multimodal Transportation Fund – will support State Street signal upgrades as well as pedestrian facility improvements. “With traffic increasing in this area, it’s more important than ever to update the transportation safety infrastructure to protect pedestrians, motorists and cyclists,” Harkins said. “The signals on State Street between Second and Fifth streets are 60 years old, and modernizing the equipment is critical. Securing this new funding will allow the city to make those upgrades and also improve pedestrian facilities.” Merski said, “Having antiquated signals in some of the busier areas of the city opens the door to delays, accidents and frustration – particularly as these areas are seeing increased traffic. Updating these intersections with advanced technology is going to go a long way toward keeping folks safer and making commutes smoother.” The lawmakers noted that in addition to the funding to the city of Erie, the Borough of Edinboro was awarded $70,000 to repair sidewalk sections throughout the borough. The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides funding to municipalities, Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $4 million secured for Erie traffic signal upgrades

(Aug 11, 2023)

ERIE, Aug. 11 – Safer traffic flow is coming to multiple intersections in the city of Erie and Wesleyville Borough, thanks to more than $3.9 million in new funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding includes: $1,627,369 for updated signal equipment along West 18th St. in the city of Erie. $1,332,319 for updated signal equipment along State Street in the city of Erie. $1,023,280 for updated signal equipment at three intersections along Buffalo Road (Route 20) and Fremont Street and Station Road (Route 430) in Wesleyville Borough. “Our transportation infrastructure needs to keep pace with the latest safety developments,” Merski said. “Today’s funding is going to help further that goal by making sure our intersections are equipped with the most advanced technology needed to protect motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.” “Updating the electronic equipment that controls our busy city intersections is critical for safety and also for keeping traffic moving efficiently,” Harkins said. “Securing this new funding means motorists are going to see smoother traffic and everyone is going to stay safer on our streets.” The funding is part of a statewide grant package awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Green Light-Go program. Green Light-Go grants are Read more

 

Merski: America250PA committee hears testimony on local projects proposed for nation’s Semiquincentennial

(Aug 10, 2023)

“I’m honored to sit on the committee, and I was inspired by testimony we heard today about proposed projects here at home and in surrounding regions, from interpreting the history of Three Forts Presque Isle, to bringing Wi-Fi connectivity to the Erie Zoo, to projects that highlight the rich historical culture that Grove City has to offer in our area," Merski said. Read more

 

House adopts Conklin resolution designating Sept. 18, 2023 as ‘State Grange Day’

(Jul 06, 2023)

“From the time of its first meeting in September 1873, when members of 25 local Granges united in their mission to strengthen rural communities, the Grange has evolved from a small farmer's fraternity into a multifaceted organization with thousands of members, all united by the same spirit of fellowship and a desire to see their communities thrive,” Conklin said. Read more

 

Merski bill to help police departments afford fleet upgrades heads to House

(Jun 29, 2023)

“Every dollar we can save government is a windfall for taxpayers, and that includes large-ticket expenditures like police fleet upgrades, which can pose major obstacles for stretched department budgets,” Merski said. Read more

 

House passes Merski bill to help Pennsylvania fight blight

(Jun 13, 2023)

"Today’s House action brings us a step closer to addressing a major urban enemy,” Merski said. “Vacant, distressed properties have been a persistent problem for Erie and other communities, but many lack a dedicated budget for code enforcement, so these efforts often go by the wayside. “My bill would help us break that cycle by giving local governments the resources they need to turn things around." Read more

 

Conklin proposes resolution to recognize Pennsylvania’s Grange legacy

(Jun 12, 2023)

“Emerging from the ashes of the Civil War, the Grange stood as a beacon of hope and solidarity for our rural communities,” said Conklin, who is a sixth-degree Grange member. “One hundred and fifty years later, its influence continues to echo through its advocacy for rural issues, educational advancement, and commitment to community service." Read more

 

Merski: Nearly $500K awarded to address homelessness, boost housing stability

(Jun 09, 2023)

“Housing stability plays a huge role in quality of life,” Merski said. "Today’s funding will help us make inroads by expanding housing options for residents in need and helping them to become more self-sufficient." Read more

 

Conklin: More than $200K secured to help low-income residents

(Jun 09, 2023)

STATE COLLEGE, June 9 – New funding of $210,000 from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency will help low-income homeowners in Centre County stay safer at home and manage energy costs and provide education and mitigation services for landlords and tenants, state Rep. Scott Conklin announced today. Conklin, D-Centre, said the funding – awarded by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency – includes home repair assistance, energy counseling and other programs to help homeowners, prospective homeowners and landlords and tenants. “For low-income residents, housing stability includes having the resources to maintain safe premises and afford heating and other home-related costs. Securing this funding will help ensure residents have the resources they need to make critical safety repairs, an understanding of how to lower their energy bills, and the counseling and services that can help them on the path to homeownership.” Conklin said the funding – which comes from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund – includes: $100,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County, Inc. for a Home Repairs program that will help residents in need make critical repairs that can affect health and safety. $55,000 to the HOME Foundation’s Energy Case Management Program, which will help low- to moderate-income households reduce their energy cost Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $67K awarded for Erie historical preservation projects

(Jun 07, 2023)

Funding from the Keystone Historic Preservation grant program includes $25,000 apiece to Mercyhurst University and the city of Erie and $17,250 to the Presque Isle Light Station organization for lighthouse repairs. Read more

 

Conklin introduces legislation for K-9 heat detection and protection

(Jun 07, 2023)

“This proposed legislation draws from painful experiences,” Conklin said. “Integrating these heat-detection devices into our police vehicles would prevent future tragedies, providing a safer environment for our K-9 officers.” Read more

 

Harkins calls for investments to stop ‘mass exodus’ from early childhood education field

(Jun 06, 2023)

ERIE, June 6 – Concerned by the sharp decline in early childhood education teachers, state Rep. Pat Harkins joined fellow lawmakers at the state Capitol today to call for greater investments in early childhood education. Harkins, who is co-chair of the Early Childhood Education Caucus, told those gathered for the “workforce behind the workforce” rally that a mass exodus from the field threatens to affect the quality of critical pre-K programs throughout the state. “The statistics are grim – they show that early education teachers on average make just $12.43 per hour and that 44% have had to use a payday loan or borrow from friends or family to cover basic expenses,” Harkins said. “Not surprisingly, half of all early ed teachers surveyed said they are thinking of leaving the field within the next five years. “Earlier this year, the governor spoke about the importance of early education and the need to invest in programs like Pre-K Counts, and a poll showed that nearly all Pennsylvanians agree that early education is important. “We need to make these investments a priority now and ensure we can pay teachers a living wage. If we can’t attract and retain early childhood educators for quality programs that give kids the right start, we’re going to feel the ripple effects all throughout our workforce and economy.” Read more

 

House passes Harkins-Merski bill to help retirees on county pensions

(Jun 06, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – County pension annuitants struggling to make ends meet are a step closer to more frequent cost-of-living adjustments after the PA House today passed legislation introduced by state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said they introduced H.B. 298 – which would amend the county pension law to give boards more flexibility in setting COLAs – to help retirees feeling the effects of inflation. “Under our county pension law, when retirement boards provide a cost-of-living increase, it must be in accordance with the full consumer price index at the time of review,” Harkins said. “Although the law is well-intentioned, its rigid requirement means that our county pension boards often can’t afford to provide any adjustments at all because the index is simply too high. “Our bill would amend the law to allow boards to grant a COLA of any percentage up to, but not more than, the consumer price index. The change would help counties and benefit county retirees who under the current all-or-nothing system might not receive a COLA for several years. “We need to reward these seniors who helped build our community and keep them out of poverty. Ensuring that they receive timely cost-of-living adjustments would bring them greater retirement security and help them maintain the quality of life they deserve.” Merski said, Read more

 

Burns brings $1.2 million back to Jackson Township for natural gas pipeline
Nov 21, 2023

Merski: $38 million in funding secured for Erie City Water Authority projects
Oct 18, 2023

Burns: Johnstown awarded $100k to bolster emergency services
Sep 15, 2023

Patton Township recognizes Conklin for crucial support in sinkhole crisis; successfully disperses funds to impacted residents
Sep 15, 2023

Burns: Johnstown awarded $150k for comprehensive recovery plan
Sep 13, 2023

Merski, Harkins: Erie public schools to share $2M in federal funding to launch student health initiative
Sep 01, 2023

Harkins, Merski: $150K secured to construct, maintain Erie snowmobile trails
Aug 29, 2023

Harkins, Merski: $500,000 awarded for Erie traffic safety improvements
Aug 24, 2023

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $4 million secured for Erie traffic signal upgrades
Aug 11, 2023

Merski: America250PA committee hears testimony on local projects proposed for nation’s Semiquincentennial
Aug 10, 2023

House adopts Conklin resolution designating Sept. 18, 2023 as ‘State Grange Day’
Jul 06, 2023

Merski bill to help police departments afford fleet upgrades heads to House
Jun 29, 2023

House passes Merski bill to help Pennsylvania fight blight
Jun 13, 2023

Conklin proposes resolution to recognize Pennsylvania’s Grange legacy
Jun 12, 2023

Merski: Nearly $500K awarded to address homelessness, boost housing stability
Jun 09, 2023

Conklin: More than $200K secured to help low-income residents
Jun 09, 2023

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $67K awarded for Erie historical preservation projects
Jun 07, 2023

Conklin introduces legislation for K-9 heat detection and protection
Jun 07, 2023

Harkins calls for investments to stop ‘mass exodus’ from early childhood education field
Jun 06, 2023

House passes Harkins-Merski bill to help retirees on county pensions
Jun 06, 2023