U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is pushing for increased funding for the Community Block Development Grant program after the administration proposed cutting funding by more than $200 million.
Casey highlighted community data and examples from across the state showing the impact of the CDBG program. He also released a letter to a key Senate committee pushing for an increase as the Senate works on the fiscal year 2015 funding bills.
"CDBG has played an instrumental role in advancing locally driven projects that create jobs and contribute to economic growth," Casey said in a news release. "The cuts proposed in the administration's budget could limit the ability of municipalities in Pennsylvania to complete economic development projects that are essential."
Pennsylvania municipalities received approximately $236 million in 2010 CDBG funds, but only $171 million in 2014 due to spending cuts. York and Lancaster have used part of their CDBG funding to reduce blight and revitalize their historic downtowns, the release noted.
In the Lehigh Valley, the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton have used CDBG funds to encourage private-sector investment in economic development projects ongoing in these communities. In Bucks County, officials used funding for an emergency homeless shelter that is open year round. In Erie, it was used to help fund community policing and infrastructure improvements to accommodate handicapped citizens.
"As this bill comes to the floor I will continue to advocate for a strong funding level for the CDBG program," Casey wrote in the letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.