A proposed bill in the state house would help property owners pay for repairs to sidewalks and alleys

The House Majority Policy Committee recently held a roundtable discussion and tour in the Overbrook section of West Philadelphia detailing infrastructure investment needs. The committee also examined the benefits of a need for a partnership between state and local municipalities to improve public-use infrastructure throughout all of Pennsylvania. 

The purpose of the event was to highlight a bill authored by State Representatives Morgan Cephas and Jordan Harris, who represent portions of Philadelphia. The bill, H.B. 948, would allow municipalities to create repair programs with matching local and state funds to help owners make needed repairs – including providing options to alleviate or spread out costs over years for public-use investments. This includes repairs needed for alleys and sidewalks.

In the Borough of Conshohocken, property ownership includes the sidewalk bordering the property and the alleyway to the middle of the alley.

“While we witnessed some of the needs of my community firsthand today, I’m working in Harrisburg to create a program to empower all municipalities throughout the state to create neighborhood infrastructure repair programs to support working people and working families,” said Representative Cephas. “Pennsylvania has some of the oldest housing stock in the nation, and while the varied architecture is impressive, the repairs and upkeep needed for even the public-use infrastructure – like pathways and alleys – can be overwhelming for property owners.” 

“Alleyways, driveways and sidewalks are public-use spaces,” said Representative Harris. “Homeowners, however, are struggling to provide the generational upgrades and repairs necessary to many of these pathways used by the community. We’ve seen it throughout the commonwealth and here in my home in Philadelphia, the city of the first class. I’m proud to have worked alongside Chair Cephas at finding a way to help homeowners make these spaces safe, accessible and ready to use for future generations.”   

“Prices for construction and even everyday household items have skyrocketed since the pandemic,” State Representative Ryan Bizzarro (D, Erie County), who serves as majority policy committee chairman of the state house. “The cost to repair just a portion of broken curbing can cost thousands of dollars, let alone replacing an entire sidewalk or upgrading an alleyway entrance. I am thankful for the work Chair Cephas and Chair Harris are doing to look for a solution to Pennsylvania’s infrastructure needs.”  

You can follow the progress of the bill here.

Photo: Google