We deserve better. We can do better.
Once predominately a summer home and vacation destination, the 139th has grown into a robust year-round community. This growth has resulted in some major problems for residents as the existing infrastructure was not designed to support this many people.
The pandemic has shed a light on our area's lack-luster internet service. With so many professionals working from home full time and students engaging on virtual learning platforms, high-speed internet access has become a necessity for many. Grants for the expansion of broadband will help families who currently work or attend school from home. High speed internet has become a modern day necessity and we must expand access to it and encourage more vendors to service this area.
Pennsylvania has an ongoing problem of aging and neglected bridges, and Pike County is no exception. More than 1/4 of our 218 bridges are in a "poor condition". The bridge that recently collapsed in Pittsburgh last month had the same rating. Efforts are already underway to rebuild and repair bridges in PA with Federal assistance over the next 5 years. Unfortunately some of our bridges may not survive while waiting for repairs.
Local commissioners have already taken steps to raise funds and begin necessary repairs of select bridges but it's still not enough. Governor Wolf has stated that the Federal investments simply won't fully fund our multi-billion-dollar infrastructure funding gap.
We must continue to work together as a community to address this serious safety and transportation issue. As a representative of the 139th I would work with our commissioners and governor to find funding solutions.
What happens if we get a bad storm that knocks out the power lines, or there's a disruption to natural gas service in the middle of the winter? Most of us either have a gasoline generator or we go without heat, water, and electricity. Creating funding streams to help enhance local power grids will help address this issue and it will create a workforce development opportunity.
Some communities that were first established for summer homes now face the problem of a shared water tower which is inadaquately sized to serve the number of residents. Water supply issues has put stress on these communities. Grants to remedy this problem are needed.
Where we work is changing and many employers offer work-from-home options. For many, working at home is not productive and having a space to set up a laptop and work without distraction is needed. Grants to subsidize a co-op shared working space with daycare for children under 5, is a solution that could help people be more productive and have a better quality of life while working. Many single parents also need to be full time bread-winners to support their family. By supporting parents we can keep children out of poverty.
State funded before and after school care options are needed in our area. I will work to help bring extended care options to our district. Quality affordable daycare is also needed for working parents. It's time we recognized that it takes a village.