WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright this week voted to pass a seven-bill fiscal year 2022 appropriations package — H.R. 4502 — on a 219-208 vote.
In addition to strong funding for infrastructure, job training, education, veterans’ health care and more, the package includes $14.5 million in direct funding for seven projects in Northeastern Pennsylvania:
• $1 million for the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce in Wilkes-Barre to create a business development hub.
• $3.5 million for the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority in Luzerne County to support stormwater infrastructure improvements.
• $1.85 million for YMCAs across NEPA to provide mental health and substance use disorder treatment and rehabilitation.
• $1.15 million for Hazleton City to combat hunger.
• $2 million for Wayne County to build a substance use disorder rehabilitation to workforce regional facility
• $2 million for Lackawanna College in Scranton to establish a technical and vocational education center.
• $3 million for Moosic Borough to build a new combination police and fire facility.
Cartwright, D-Moosic, said these bills will next be negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee.
“Funding bills are a reflection of our values, and this package shows we value and believe in the American people,” said Cartwright, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “Not only does it make investments in creating good-paying jobs, caring for veterans and growing opportunity for workers and families across the nation, it also addresses challenges we face in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with direct funding for things like substance use disorder treatment, local police, job training and business development. With its passage today, we are advancing the values of prosperity and justice for all.”
• $1 million for a business development hub in Wilkes-Barre: Project Elevate
Sponsored by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business & Industry — a division of the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce — the goal of Project Elevate is economic and social revitalization in the Greater Wyoming Valley. In addition to attracting new business, this funding, if secured in the final enacted bill, would also promote mentorship and workforce training programs in the region.
• $3.5 million for stormwater infrastructure improvements in the Wyoming Valley
Sponsored by the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (WVSA), this funding will support their Warrior Creek Stream Restoration and Abrahams Creek MS4 Stream Restoration & Creek Street Stormwater Basin Retrofit projects. It will address stormwater management and achieve the goals of reducing sediment and nutrient loads under Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) regulations.
• $1.85 million for mental health and substance use disorder treatment and rehabilitation across NEPA: YMCA Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Support Services
Sponsored by the Greater Scranton YMCA, this funding is for local YMCAs to contract with at least one mental health/substance use disorder organization in their community to provide services at their facilities. The funding will also support the hiring of specialized staff to offer added therapy services, focusing on the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders and drug use, and tobacco and alcohol use among children. Although open to all, the YMCAs will target low-income community members who may not have access to services, or who may desire alternative service options.
• $1.15 million to combat food insecurity in Hazleton
Sponsored by the Hazleton Integration Project (HIP), this funding would help the organization create a STEAM-based education model to eradicate food insecurity in the Greater Hazleton Area. Age specific STEAM labs will maximize innovative approaches to problem solving and serve as centerpieces to drive and sustain this effort for years to come.
Student-led committees will research root causes of food insecurity and drive solutions by incorporating community gardening, logistics, marketing, communication, legislation and the food supply chain. Additional emphasis will focus on the impact of food insecurity and poverty on mental health. Hundreds of our area’s economically disadvantaged high schoolers will be mentored throughout by university students.