By Rep. Anita Kulik
For the first time in a long time, the Capitol Complex was back to its normal self. The halls and rotundas were filled with visitors and groups of citizens coming to lobby for multiple issues of importance to Pennsylvanians.
We even welcomed back visitors to the gallery of the House floor.
There were numerous groups at the Capitol holding “advocacy” days, including many institutes of higher education. We were visited by representatives from the University of Pittsburgh and Community College of Allegheny County.
Legislators were also visited by local groups advocating for after-school programs.
I was visited by groups from Propel Montour, Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, and ARYSE; a group that advocates for refugee children. It was a privilege to welcome these remarkable young people to the Capitol.
After-school programs are essential to so many of our children.
These programs provide stability, learning assistance, social interaction and physical activity.
Many children would lack these opportunities without the existence of programs like these.
I serve on the Veterans’ Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and we reviewed and submitted, to the full House, an extension of the Governor’s Emergency Declaration for the bridge collapse in Allegheny County. The House voted to extend the declaration, so as to continue the ability to address this serious issue.
The extension runs through September of this year. Any further extensions will be considered at that time.
Infrastructure funding must be a priority on the state and federal levels. The well-being of our municipalities, businesses and residential areas depends on safe roadways, proper water and sewage systems, and stable utility grids. Infrastructure issues often do not get the attention they deserve because these are matters hidden from public view, such as water lines (until there is a major break).
Recently I have had meetings with officials from several municipalities in the district on infrastructure issues.
We discussed everything from roads to bridges to flooding problems.
We are at the point where the maintenance and repair of our infrastructure systems must be made a priority.
Bills continue to be introduced in the State House and Senate that address the use of the federal COVID monies.
We must continue to take hard looks at the distribution of these funds for the use of infrastructure issues. We have an opportunity to address these matters, through the use of these funds. I continue to monitor PennDOT’s proposal to toll the I-79 bridge exchange at Bridgeville.
I stand firm against this tax that will directly impact residents of the communities in our district.
I urge all residents to let PennDOT know their positions on this, whether for or against the toll.
I will likewise keep residents informed of any developments, such as when the public comment portion of the process begins. As you may know, the lawsuit, filed by several municipalities to stop this project, is scheduled for a hearing next month.
As we recover from the effects of the pandemic, it is wonderful to see that our communities are continuing to grow, and new businesses continue to open. With the redistricting process completed, I look forward to learning about the new municipalities that will be joining the district: Collier Township, Bridgeville Borough, and McKees Rocks Borough. Having grown up and living around these areas, I am very familiar with them and know they will be excellent additions to the 45th District.
Please continue to reach out to me and my staff for any state-related needs including rent or mortgage rebates and unemployment claims.