New Tool Allows Pennsylvania Airports to View Local Economic Impact of Facility Updates

June 11, 2024

Jun. 11—WILKES-BARRE — On the heels of a recent state investment in 10 Pennsylvania airports, Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll, and the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday unveiled a new Aviation Economic Impact Calculator that will allow airports to view the economic impact of potential facility updates and activities.

The event was held at New Garden Flying Field in Chester County at a recently completed nearly $1 million terminal expansion project that was made possible with Gov. Josh Shapiro's 2023-24 budget and the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

"As chair of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Aerospace States Association, I'm excited to highlight the tremendous economic impact that the aerospace and aviation industries have on the Commonwealth," said Davis. " Pennsylvania's public-use airports are a vital part of our transportation infrastructure, and we're making smart, strategic investments in our airports to create even more jobs and economic growth."

PennDOT created the new tool to allow Pennsylvania's 120 public-use airports to calculate updated impacts for their facility based on changes in airport activity, business tenants, and visitor spending. The calculator produces estimates of economic impact, including employment, payroll, and output.

"This new resource and this project are prime examples of the Shapiro Administration's laser focus on growing our economy through transportation," Carroll said. " Pennsylvania's aviation industry provides significant economic benefits and we're pleased to help make it easier for them to plan for and increase their regional impact."

The New Garden Flying Field ( FAA identifier N57) project demonstrates Gov. Shapiro's commitment to local economies after last year's state budget secured an additional $1.6 million for aviation, building to a total of $8 million over five state fiscal years.

Additionally, Pennsylvania airports will receive more than $70 million each year from the BIL through 2026 and the Governor's commitment ensures that PennDOT can match those funds.

"These grants not only invest in the physical infrastructure of our airports, but also in strengthening safety and improving efficiency and accessibility for travelers, and help the economy thrive," said FAA Associate Administrator for Airports, Shannetta R. Griffin, P.E.

The airport's terminal project was made possible by $859,138 in BIL funding, $64,046 in state funding, and $31,416 in local funding. The 2,000 square-foot terminal expansion provided a public lounge, ADA improvements, and additional storage space. The airport hired a new receptionist and mechanic because of the expansion.

Pennsylvania's robust aviation industry employs over 226,000 people, provides nearly $12.5 billion in payroll and employment benefits, and has a $34 billion annual economic impact. In addition to providing travel options, airports also facilitate services such as air cargo and freight, police and law enforcement, emergency medical services, firefighting, and disaster and emergency response.

For more information on aviation in Pennsylvania visit — www.penndot.pa.gov.

Governor's $10M agriculture program

will support farmers, attract new businesses

Gov. Josh Shapiro and Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding on Monday toured Cedar Meadow Farm, a regenerative farm in Lancaster County that produces hemp and mixed vegetables, to highlight how the governor's 2024-25 budget proposal would support the innovative agriculture advancements happening across the Commonwealth and bolster the $132 billion agriculture industry that supports over 600,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania's agriculture industry is critical to the Commonwealth's economy — which is why the Governor's Economic Development Strategy puts agriculture front and center in the conversation and his 2024-25 budget proposes $10.3 million in agriculture innovation to support and attract new businesses and continue Pennsylvania's national legacy as an agricultural leader.

"I've visited so many multi-generational farms across Pennsylvania like Cedar Meadow Farm to see innovative examples of what our farmers have built firsthand," Shapiro said. "Farming is part of our heritage here in Pennsylvania — but it's also part of our present and our future as a Commonwealth. That's why my Economic Development Strategy leans heavily on agriculture as one of the key pillars of opportunity and is why my budget includes $10 million in additional funding for our Ag Innovation initiative. Our farmers form the backbone of our economy here in Pennsylvania — they put food on our tables and in our stores and restaurants every day — we need to have their backs, and my Administration does."

The Governor's proposal — which has been introduced as House Bill 2310 — establishes and funds the Agriculture Innovation program to support new solutions to complex agricultural and environmental challenges and keep Pennsylvania's agriculture industry a national leader in the coming decades. The Governor's proposal has earned broad bipartisan support in House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.

The Agriculture Innovation and Conservation program would enable the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to offer grants to farmers and other agriculture businesses to implement new agriculture technologies, conservation, and renewable energy innovations — expanding their potential to generate profits, enrich soil and water resources, and produce energy on the farm.

"No-till and cover crops were once considered innovative practices, but visionaries like Steve Groff have made them commonplace in Pennsylvania with their own dollars and ever-increasing backing by state and federal government," said Secretary Redding. " Steve Groff has been a visionary, and a risk-taker who has not only seen his innovations pay off but has shared his knowledge with other farmers. The giant leaps in soil health he and other innovators like him have seen on his farm have ripple effects throughout our food and water supply. This is proof positive that innovation and conservation feed progress and are the reason the Shapiro Administration supports investing in the future of agriculture."

Hemp, once a staple of Pennsylvania's economy, has shown tremendous potential not just for industrial products from plant-based plastics, fabric, and sustainable building materials, but for soil regeneration — storing carbon and nutrients to improve both water and soil. Pennsylvania has provided more than $1.1 million through the PA Farm Bill and other programs to support research, promotion, and innovation in the hemp industry.

With more than $500,000 awarded since the beginning of the Shapiro Administration, the PDA's grant investments in growing a vibrant hemp industry have now topped $1.5 million.

Shapiro's Proposed state-based health insurance

subsidy program clears House of Representatives

The Shapiro Administration this week applauded the House of Representatives' bipartisan approval of Gov. Josh Shapiro's proposed state-based subsidy program for low and middle-income Pennsylvanians purchasing coverage through Pennie, Pennsylvania's state-run insurance marketplace.

Rep. Patty Kim, Chair of the House Insurance Committee, introduced the Governor's proposal as House Bill 2234. If enacted into law and appropriately funded, this bill would pair the Governor's proposed subsidy program with a stronger state reinsurance program for high-cost claims.

"PID applauds the House for moving this bill forward. We want Pennsylvanians, who are facing rising costs of health care, to not only be able to afford their health insurance, but also to afford to be able to use it," said Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys. "Pennsylvanians are feeling the effects of inflation, and they should not be worrying about how to pay to see their doctors because they are insured but cannot afford their deductibles. The Governor's proposal would positively impact nearly all Pennsylvanians that rely on individual market Affordable Care Act-compliant coverage."

Pennie now covers a record-breaking 435,000 Pennsylvanians with affordable, high-quality health coverage — an increase of over 150,000 covered lives since Pennie's inception in 2020.

A Commonwealth subsidy program would provide financial assistance to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians by cutting the costs of health care coverage, helping every Pennsylvanian have access to the health care they need to live healthy and productive lives.

The Governor's proposal to strengthen the state's reinsurance program would help most other Pennsylvanians purchasing individual market health insurance by reducing premiums from where they would otherwise be absent this program.

"House Bill 2234 has two goals in mind: more people get insurance, and more people get better insurance," said Rep. Kim. "The bill gives Pennie the flexibility to explore ways to mitigate high costs and deductibles for about 200,000 to 300,000 Pennie customers."

For more information on how the Governor's 2024-25 budget proposal would cut healthcare costs, visit — shapirobudget.pa.gov.

Reach Bill O'Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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