MARSHALL TOWNSHIP — Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Turzai R-Allegheny County, has prepared legislation to allow all construction projects in Pennsylvania to move forward as long as mitigation efforts are undertaken to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in accordance with regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Friday he circulated a cosponsor memorandum to his colleagues. Turzai will introduce the bill as House Bill 2400 next week.
The memo read, in part, “Pennsylvania is the only state to shut down all active public and private construction sites, while issuing some selective waivers on an ad hoc basis. There is no consistency. While governors in New Jersey, California, Illinois and New York have issued shelter-in-place orders, they have all included exemptions for construction personnel and construction activities. For example, construction of the SoFi Stadium, the future home of the Los Angeles Rams, is continuing in California with appropriate protective measures.
“Highway and other infrastructure jobs that are vital to the transportation and safety of our motorists and citizens across the Commonwealth are currently sitting idle,” the memo continued. “These jobs still need to be completed in a timely manner. Stopping these projects which are of an open-air nature makes no sense. Additionally, the impact to PennDOT’s capital program will be costly in the form of ‘delay claims’ that PennDOT will be contractually obligated to pay idled construction companies”
He said the stop work orders are hurting families, too.
“As of today, the state Department of Labor and Industry reported that nearly 700,000 Pennsylvanians have applied for unemployment compensation benefits in the past two weeks,” Turzai wrote. “This equates to over 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s workforce and the number is expected to continue to rise.”