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8/22/2014

Corbett Administration Announces the Release of Economic Growth Initiative Grant in Chester County

News for Immediate Release

Aug. 22, 2014

Grant to Chester County Industrial Development Authority to Improve Traffic Patterns and Public Safety in Valley and Sadsbury Townships

Harrisburg–Governor Tom Corbett today announced the award of a $2.5 million Economic Growth Initiative grant to the Chester County Industrial Development Authority for road infrastructure improvements of Washington Lane, a traffic thoroughfare in Valley and Sadsbury Townships.

The Economic Growth Initiative grant addresses a number of public safety issues and is intended to improve traffic patterns for Chester County residents, as well as government and corporate entities along Washington Lane. One of the corporate entities, Sikorsky Global Helicopters, Inc. is currently evaluating the expansion of its existing helicopter manufacturing operations. Currently, to reach the Chester County Airport for operational testing, the company’s helicopters must leave the facility and perform a low hover to the airport, a procedure that occurs several times a day.  This requires closure of both ends of Washington Lane to reduce risks to traffic using the road.  These closures affect nearby residents and area businesses.

The road is also utilized by the National Guard.  It is the main egress point from the National Guard’s deployment center, should the Guard be deployed in a state of emergency.

“We are building a stronger Pennsylvania through smart investments supporting companies and communities,” Gov. Corbett said.  “Partnering with job creators like Sikorsky is a prime example of business working with the community to identify barriers to growth and to develop solutions that will result in positive economic impact for all.”

The proposed road infrastructure improvements would allow vehicular traffic to continue on Washington Lane and support the movement of flight-ready helicopters at ground level in order to cross into Chester County Airport’s controlled environment.  The project also positions Sikorsky for possible future expansion.

The proposed project is expected to result in an estimated $5 million in capital investment and create a positive economic impact. It is anticipated to create, retain and support more than 5,900 jobs for the region.

“Sikorsky appreciates this grant eligibility and the improvements it could bring to the safety and efficiency of our operations, as well as to the general public,” said Shane Eddy, Senior Vice President, Operations, Sikorsky Aircraft. “We thank Governor Corbett and the Chester County Industrial Development Authority for their support in selecting us to pursue this grant.”

In 2012, Corbett reformed the state’s method of funding Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program with a significant redesign, making the process more transparent and objective.  Projects are now selected based upon their job-creation potential, their economic impact, as well as their viability and construction readiness.

Prior to Corbett taking office, the state’s spending and borrowing for capital redevelopment assistance had become unsustainable for the state and its taxpayers, growing from $400 million in 1986 to slightly more than $4 billion in 2010.  Corbett also said that the program had strayed considerably from its intended purpose of encouraging and assisting job growth through regional economic development projects. 

Last round, the Corbett administration announced 58 new Economic Growth Initiative grants, totaling more than $133 million. The announced projects are expected to create more than 45,000 jobs in 24 counties across the state.

To ensure the commonwealth can continue supporting Economic Growth Initiative grants, Corbett continued to urge the state legislature to enact meaningful pension reform and address the current pension system’s $50 billion debt. Ballooning pension costs, which consume approximately 60 cents of every new dollar of general fund revenues, detract from the commonwealth’s ability to invest in economic development and projects that spur job creation.

For more information on the program, visit the Budget Office online at www.budget.state.pa.usand select the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program link.

Media contact: Jay Pagni, 717-783-1116

Editor’s note: For statutory and legislative purposes, the Economic Growth Initiative program will continue to be known as the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

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