The State of Pennsylvania is well-positioned to lead the nation in its post pandemic renovation. Pennsylvania is key for three reasons:
1. Pennsylvania’s geographic location, positioned next to Canada, and in the tri-state region of Ohio, New York, and West Virginia, makes it a regional hub for trade.
2. Pennsylvania has a large diversity of goods and services production that range from advanced Manufacturing to third and fourth-tier machine shop providers. Pennsylvania also has ample farm land as well as a burgeoning position in the water innovation space with bountiful opportunities to refine freshwater production.
3. Pennsylvania’s geographic location positioned within a short inland ‘skip and a stone throw away’ from the Atlantic Ocean gives Pennsylvania another unique advantage compared to states just South and in the Heartland of the United States.
How can PA Lead the United States Post Pandemic Economic Recovery?
America’s post pandemic Renovation will require both hard work and foresight. Pennsylvanians possess each of these characteristics in large quantities. Pennsylvania’s history is filled with examples of workers forging New Paths and opportunity. My hometown of Erie, is a great example of a city that was forged off the beaten path. The economic history of Erie highlights how initial settlers had to forge a new path. This path is one that previously had only been covered by a wooden roadway just like today small business owners who work on digital roads forge a beaten path outside of the Coastal Cities of New York and California, and who do so on the shores of Presque Isle State Park.
State Government reforms includes the following:
-Innovate on large-scale infrastructure projects by providing grants to large-scale infrastructure projects for labor travel-related expenses.
-Pass Right-to-work legislation for temporary large-scale infrastructure projects.
-A coordinated Municipal Consolidation effort that redraws local municipal boundaries entirely and eliminates duplicative municipalities altogether.
States such as Pennsylvania, as political bellwethers, should step-up to lead the post pandemic Renovation process among states in the Union. Pennsylvania can do this foremost buy leading the process of how physical infrastructure projects are deployed, managed, and completed. Physical infrastructure projects must span not only roads, but water systems, Internet infrastructure such as 5G, and the renovation of residential real estate in impoverished Pennsylvania neighborhoods. There are two ways that the state of Pennsylvania can innovate on large-scale infrastructure projects. First, it can create a voucher program and a grant program to facilitate the travel of human capital and human labor to large-scale building sites. Second, PA can implement right-to-work laws for large-scale infrastructure Renovation projects as both a temporary and trial measure to kickstart employment and economic growth. The temporary removal of prevailing wage restrictions during post pandemic Renovation efforts can unlock public-private investment Dollars and improve the speed of reconstruction.
A second and equally important measure that the state of Pennsylvania can take is to entirely redraw Municipal boundaries. In every region such as Allegheny County, Philadelphia, and the Northwest region of Erie, municipal boundaries fracture inner cities from the suburbs. There are so many instances where municipalities cannot even recruit volunteers to hold elected positions, they simply go unfilled. The State must intervene instead of relying on small municipalities to coordinate consolidation among each other. Pennsylvania is unique in that it has more municipalities per Geographic footprint then almost every other state in the Union.
Simply put, there is too much bureaucracy in the state of Pennsylvania. This bureaucracy hampers genuine Economic Development and growth. Furthermore, it employs a permanent class of do-nothing economic developers. A guiding policy of the Pennsylvania Republican agenda must be to redraw and eliminate municipal boundaries across the state.
Currently, Pennsylvania Government moves slow and is bureaucratic. It is currently not up to the task of a post pandemic Renovation. We must move fast as a State, so that we can take our rightful place leading the United States economy.