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Pennsylvania news in brief for Friday, Feb. 26

Senator raises concerns over PennDOT’s plan to toll bridges

A plan released by The PennDOT to toll nine bridges in the Interstate System is drawing criticism from the chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee.

Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Richland Township, argued that PennDOT was impinging on lawmakers’ powers to raise money.

“I have serious concerns with PennDOT’s authority to essentially tax and appropriate funds without additional oversight from the General Assembly,” he said in a statement.

Langerholc plans to introduce legislation that would reform Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute that PennDOT is using to implement the tolls.

White rejects delayed reopening of Philadelphia schools

Rep. Martina White, R-Philadelphia, criticized the decision to delay opening public schools in Philadelphia.

The date for schools to reopen has been pushed back from February 22 to March 1.

“The safety concerns of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers that are causing the delay should have been addressed months ago,” White said. “All parties involved should have been able to reach a consensus and reopened.”

The city’s Catholic schools, charter schools, and private schools have either remained open or are prepared to open.

Legislation introduced to help struggling families stay in their homes

Pennsylvania state Reps. Rick Krajewski, Jared Solomon, and Morgan Cephas, all D-Philadelphia, introduced legislation to help financially struggling families remain living in their homes.

The legislation would allow homeowners to finalize a mortgage modification in advance of the payment of municipal liens assessed on a property. The Housing Finance Agency is in support of this legislation.

“People who are struggling to make ends meet should not have to forfeit their home and with it their health and safety,” Rep. Krajewski said. “And that’s why I’m introducing this legislation, so that homeowners have another option to stay in their homes, even in financially trying times.”

Democrats call for repairs to toxic, hazardous schools across the state

A group of Democratic House and Senate members hope to gain bipartisan support to repair aging, hazardous, and toxic school buildings across Pennsylvania.

In a virtual news conference Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia/Montgomery, Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Philadelphia, Sen. Jim Brewster, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, and Rep. Kyle Mullins, D-Lackawanna, addressed two possible proposals that would support significant investment in school infrastructure.

Most school buildings in Pennsylvania were constructed between 1950 and 1959, making them some of the oldest in the nation.

“As we seek to make schools safe in the age of COVID, we are determined to also remediate the lead, asbestos and other toxins,” Rep. Fiedler said.

This article was originally posted on Pennsylvania news in brief for Friday, Feb. 26

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