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Vulakovich bill promotes waterfront development

December 13, 2013
HARRISBURG- The Senate Finance Committee today (December 11) approved Senate Bill 968,  legislation introduced by Senator Randy Vulakovich that would establish a Waterfront Development Tax Credit as a way to encourage private investment and spur economic development, environmental improvements and public recreational enhancements.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration

The Waterfront Development Tax Credit would be capped at $10 million annually and would be available to individuals or businesses that contribute to non-profit waterfront improvement organizations. The organizations and the projects would need approval by the Department of Community and Economic Development prior to participation in the tax credit program.

“Pennsylvania’s waterfront areas offer opportunities for economic development and public recreation which contribute to the livelihood of the community as well as to the quality of life of residents and visitors,” Senator Vulakovich said. “However, these areas often require significant investment to redevelop due to barriers including abandoned industrial uses and contamination. My bill provides a way for organizations and private investors to work together to restore those areas in ways that will benefit the entire community.”

Under Senator Vulakovich’s measure, contributions would be used for specific waterfront development projects, such as: streets and public rights-of-way; waterfront parks, gardens and open spaces; access to public utilities, erosion control, storm water management and other environmental projects which promote economic development; water transportation facilities for use by the public, including water transit landings and boat docking; and amenities, including infrastructure and recreational projects.

Senator Vulakovich cites Pittsburgh’s riverfront redevelopment efforts as an example of the benefit of investment in those projects.

“Since the inception of Riverlife in 1999, Pittsburgh has seen the investment of about $130 million directly in 10 riverfront projects and over $4 billion of additional adjacent investment in the form of corporate headquarters and office buildings, hotels, sports and entertainment complexes and residences,” Senator Vulakovich said. “That represents about $30 in resulting investments in projects adjacent to the rivers for every dollar invested directly in riverfront projects. I see this Tax Credit as an extra incentive to further these goals.  And not just in Pittsburgh, but across the Commonwealth.  I brought this map to highlight that 64 of our 67 counties have significant waterways.”

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