Uncertainty is the best way to describe the state's so-called PlanCon reimbursement program.
That was my description for it last year.
It continues to be a good word since a moratorium has been in place since 2012.
But there is some light at the end of the tunnel for public school construction and renovation projects.
York County Republican Rep. Seth Grove’s House Bill 2124 could get through the House by next week.
“It’s a bipartisan issue and many members from both sides have expressed great interest in dealing with it,” an optimistic Grove said on Monday.
There is a roughly $1.7 billion backlog in planned reimbursements, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. And there is no funding in the governor’s proposed budget.
We’re talking of a program that was receiving about $300 million per year.
Grove wants to reform PlanCon, which stands for Planning and Construction Workbook, into the Accountability and Reducing Costs in Construction Process, or ARC Con. His bill would streamline the process into five steps, saving schools time and money.
His proposal also would offer lump-sum payments of up to 75 percent to districts waiting for reimbursement, which would save the commonwealth on the overall cost of the project and reduce district debt obligations.
If this fix doesn’t go through, you have to wonder what taxes might look like when districts have to shoulder the entire cost of renovations or construction projects. Energy projects will only take you so far.
What do you think will happen with PlanCon? How has the moratorium affected your construction or related business?