PA looks to boost state investment into “shovel ready” job sites, looking for $500 million more in funding

20 June 2024- In a bipartisan effort, Senator Nick Miller, Senator Chris GebhardRepresentative Kyle Donahue, and Representative Aaron D. Kaufer introduced legislation earlier this week to create the Pennsylvania Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites (PA SITES) program and authorize up to $500 million in new funding to invest in site development, preparation, and readiness for businesses to locate or expand in Pennsylvania. The legislation, House Bill 2425 and Senate Bill 16, matches the plan put forward by Governor Josh Shapiro and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger to help sites across the Commonwealth become “shovel ready” in order to attract more businesses and good-paying jobs.

“PA SITES is helping us turn piles of dirt into hundreds of jobs and position the Commonwealth as an economic leader where companies can thrive,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “We have heard loud and clear that Pennsylvania needs to develop more sites to sell our Commonwealth to companies that want to grow here. We received over 100 applications requesting more than $236 million in funding as part of the initial PA SITES pilot program – demonstrating the need for more state investment in this year’s budget. These sites are key to growing our economy, rebuilding our communities, and helping Pennsylvania compete – and I’m glad a bipartisan group of legislators, led by Senator Miller, Senator Gebhard, Representative Donahue, and Representative Kaufer, have introduced bills to devote $500 million to this initiative to develop more sites, create more jobs, and deliver more opportunity for the good people of Pennsylvania.”

Last month, Governor Shapiro and Secretary Siger announced $10.6 million in new funding for the pilot PA SITES program, which was created by the Governor in his 2023-24 budget and began taking applications in September 2023. 

“I applaud Senator Miller, Senator Gebhard, Representative Donahue, and Representative Kaufer for recognizing that PA SITES is the kind of transformational, bold investment that all of Pennsylvania’s regions need to compete,” said Secretary Rick Siger. “It’s critical that we secure this $500 million infusion for the program to create more shovel-ready sites and give existing firms and new businesses more potential locations to choose from when considering the Commonwealth. Investing in PA SITES also sends a clear signal to the national and international business community that Pennsylvania is open for business.”

Compared to neighboring states like Ohio, New York, and Virginia who allocate more annual funding to site development incentives, Pennsylvania lacks readily available sites to support companies’ major business expansions. To help the Commonwealth be more competitive, Governor Shapiro included the $500 million in PA SITES funding in his 2024-25 budget proposal

“It is my priority to attract and retain businesses in the Commonwealth, providing family-sustaining jobs. PA SITES is a resource that prepares sitesto be ready for business development which enables us to compete with neighboring states and make the Commonwealth an attractive place to do business,” saidSenator Nick Miller. “Allentown was one of the seven siteschosen for the pilot PA SITES program, as the Lehigh Valley has had a stronghold on industrial and manufacturing businesses for decades. I’m proud to sponsor the legislation that would enable local entities to prepare sites to be ready for further development. Governor Shapiro recognizes that across the Commonwealth we have many available sites, but they need some investment to prepare them for use. Since my first day in office, I have advocated for policies that advance economic development and I am committed to ensure that this program has the necessary funding in this year’s budget.”

“For too many years Pennsylvania has lacked the foresight to strategically invest in our business community. This lack of a strategic commitment has greatly hampered our past and future economic growth,” said Senator Chris Gebhard. “The PA SITES program is our opportunity to change this negative trajectory. Through targeted economic investment Pennsylvania will now be at the forefront of business development attracting corporate investment from across this nation. This will be a great benefit to our citizens as economic growth will drive financial success for all of us.”   

“Last year’s funding for a $10.6 million pilot program proved the demand is strong for shovel ready locations across Pennsylvania” said Representative Kyle Donahue. “Now is the time to take the next step to provide the appropriate level of funding to invest in site development to turn dirt into jobs by accelerating business development and economic opportunity throughout the Commonwealth.”  

“Getting an initiative like PA SITES done is critically important to the economic development of the Commonwealth and to ensure long-term growth and investment,” said Representative Aaron D. Kaufer. “This is a way for us in Pennsylvania to step up our game and compete across the country.”