CAPITOL ROUNDUP: State warns of spring flooding; urges to take out flood insurance

This week, Pennsylvania’s Acting Insurance Commissioner Michael Humphreys urged homeowners to consider purchasing flood insurance to protect their homes, businesses and property.

For many Pennsylvanians, flooding from heavy spring rains can be a common occurrence. Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to your home.

“A lot of homeowners don’t realize that their standard insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage,” Humphreys said. “Floods become a real threat throughout Pennsylvania during the spring rainy season, so we encourage homeowners to review their policies now and consider adding flood insurance, either purchased in the rapidly growing private market, or under the National Flood Insurance Scheme.”

“Flood insurance is always good protection to have in place, so you’re prepared for the unthinkable and the risk to your home and property is mitigated,” Humphreys added.

Homeowners who live in federally designated Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are likely required to have flood insurance by their mortgage lenders, however, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP ) indicates that one in four insurance claims come from outside high-risk flood zones. People looking to buy new homes and properties should research before buying to determine if the area is prone to flooding, and homeowners who have paid off their mortgage should consider maintaining their flood insurance even if they are no longer obliged to continue it.

Consumers should be aware that flood insurance policies are not immediately active. In most scenarios, there is a 30-day waiting period before policies become active; this prevents individuals from purchasing flood insurance only when a storm is heading towards their property. However, there are exceptions to this policy, including if the home was recently added to the federal government’s SFHA map, and if the home was just purchased and the lender requires flood coverage.

Flood insurance is available from both the NFIP and private insurers. Policies can be purchased through licensed P&C insurance agents in Pennsylvania to cover almost any building and its contents, including rental properties and condominiums.

Tenants can also purchase flood insurance for their belongings, which are not usually covered by a standard tenant’s insurance policy or a landlord’s policy that covers the building.

“Floods are a very real threat no matter where you live,” said PEMA director Randy Padfield. “While very few people want to consider adding expenses to their budget, flood insurance can provide peace of mind that you are financially protected from the devastation that floods can bring.”

Padfield said another important preparedness step for families is to create a family emergency communication plan, so everyone knows how they will stay in touch and communicate in the event of an emergency. The plan should be practiced regularly so that everyone is comfortable with it when it comes time to use it.

Padfield said free family emergency plan templates and downloadable checklists are available on the ReadyPA website. Consumers can also sign up to receive free weather alerts from a trusted local media source or AlertPA, subscribe to the monthly ReadyPA newsletter, and download Pennsylvania’s comprehensive emergency preparedness guide.

Information about NFIP and private flood insurance is available on the Department of Insurance’s One-Stop Flood Insurance web page.

Casey announces million dollars in federal funding

U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-Scranton, this week announced additional federal funding of $19,353,129 to help low-income families and seniors with their home energy costs through the Energy Assistance Program. Income Home Energy (LIHEAP), bringing Pennsylvania’s LIHEAP total over the past year to $503,242,791.

“Pennsylvania received a record half a billion dollars last year to help families with their energy expenses, thanks in part to the U.S. bailout and the Infrastructure Act,” said Casey said. “For low-income Pennsylvania families whose budgets are squeezed even tighter by inflation, it’s a welcome relief to know they can keep their homes warm in the winter and cool this coming summer.”

This is the fourth LIHEAP funding release in the past year. In May 2021, Pennsylvania received $297,671,482 in LIHEAP funding from the American Rescue Plan. Pennsylvania also received $182,800,295 in LIHEAP funding through the regular appropriation process for the first 4.5 months of FY22.

Pennsylvania then received $3,417,885 in LIHEAP funding in January 2022 from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Today’s announcement of $19,353,129 – from the FY22 appropriations bill passed last month – brings Pennsylvania’s total to more than half a billion dollars. This is the largest investment in the LIHEAP program in a single year since the program’s inception in 1981.

Senator Casey also announced $264,847,619 in federal funding for Pennsylvania from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration to reduce carbon emissions and develop carbon reduction strategies.

The funding, made possible by the new Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), will be used to help states reduce carbon emissions from the utility sector. transportation, including new infrastructure to support electrification of vehicles and projects. to build bus rapid transit corridors. Pennsylvania has already received $50,892,693 of this IIJA carbon reduction funding for 2022.

“This funding is a positive step toward reducing carbon emissions, thanks to the Biden administration and the Infrastructure Act,” Casey said. “By investing in new projects to reduce pollution on our nation’s highways, we can lighten the burden on our planet, reduce costs for families, and create jobs in infrastructure. I will continue to bring infrastructure funding back to Pennsylvania and advance projects to address the climate crisis. »

In 2018, the transportation sector accounted for 25% of all of Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the Commonwealth was responsible for approximately 269 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted into the atmosphere.

PennDOT, highlight of the PSP waste application corridors

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) have worked together to discuss penalties for littering and littering in a waste enforcement lane.

PennDOT and PSP hosted a press conference this week in Lackawanna County to explain what litter enforcement is, why it’s important, and what the penalties are for littering.

“PennDOT District 4 is proud to partner with the Pennsylvania State Police and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful today to highlight our efforts to reduce litter in Northeast PA. PennDOT relies on volunteers of the Adopt-A-Highway program to help us keep the roads clean and litter-free,” said PennDOT Deputy District Manager Jonathan Eboli, PE. “We encourage everyone to get involved with the Adopt-A-Highway program. in their community.

Waste control corridors have great aesthetic or historical value that deserves to be preserved or needs additional help with waste issues. Approved segments are marked with signs to warn motorists of additional fines for litter: penalties doubled for motorists caught spreading litter and tripled when done by a commercial company. Waste control lanes also provide added safety for workers or volunteers picking up litter in a designated lane.

Wolf announces 2 Hazleton waters projects

Governor Tom Wolf this week announced the investment of $199 million for 13 drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and non-point source projects in 11 counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment. Authority (PENNVEST).

Two of the projects are in Hazleton City.

“Ensuring the reliability of our most valuable infrastructure is critical on the road to recovery for many of our communities,” Governor Wolf said. “As we prepare for much-needed increases in federal and state resources, like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will bring more than $240 million to Pennsylvania next year alone for drinking water infrastructure, I am convinced that these projects will lead the way. path to successful growth and revitalization.

• Hazleton City Authority — received a $3,300,000 loan to replace and relocate existing pressure control valves, currently located in underground pits, to above ground facilities. The project will increase system reliability and eliminate unaccounted for water losses.

• Hazleton City Authority — received a loan of $1,857,220 to make improvements to an existing damaged pumping station, which is a critical part of the authority’s system and key to the city’s drought planning strategy. ‘authority. The project will restore reliable drinking water to much of the service area while upgrading a completely unusable facility.

Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.