Another K-12 Moratorium Looms

Within Gov. Wolf’s 2015-2016 fiscal year budget legislation is a provision that places another moratorium on PlanCon beginning July 1. The assumption is that a moratorium would only be for one year but that was the assumption in 2012 too (and it was a wrong assumption). The language of the bill specifies that projects in the process prior to July 1 will continue to progress. Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget does include funding at the same level as the current budget, or just under $300 million.

Rep Seth Grove from York had earlier proposed a reform of PlanCon that would streamline the process and add another $30 million or so to increase deferred capital spending.

Dept. of Education Secretary Rivera did not directly address the question of a moratorium but said that “Governor Wolf is committed to ensuring his education investment reaches the classroom first,” saying that, “once the funding gap has been restored local officials will ultimately be able to make decisions on where they want to invest, including construction projects.”

With a Republican-controlled legislature in opposition to many of Gov. Wolf’s proposals, his 2015-2016 budget is not expected to pass without extensive negotiation. According to PA School Board Association staff, the proposed PlanCon moratorium is opposed on both sides of the aisle. It’s likely that the budget is meant to get both parties to compromise on their sacred cows and a moratorium will be quashed in negotiations. Until that comes to pass, however, the construction industry will be anxiously watching to see if this vital sector is set back again.

According to the Pittsburgh Builders Exchange, Allegheny Construction Group was the low bidder on the $9.7 million CCAC West Hall and the $2.77 million Pittsburgh International Airport South Matrix baggage handling improvements. Podojil Builders was awarded the new $1.5 million Primanti Brothers restaurant to be located off Racetrack Road at the Streets at the Meadows mixed-use development being done by Horizon Properties.

Rycon, Max Construction, Restaurant Specialties and Fred Olivieri are bidding a new Applebee’s on Route 22 in Murrysville on April 6 and for Waynesburg on April 9.

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