Gov. Tom Ridge hailed the Pennsylvania state House and Senate's passage of his No. 1 legislative priority, "Growing Greener."
The approval allows nearly $650 million to be invested in Pennsylvania's environmental priorities.
"This is far and away the largest investment in our environment in modern Pennsylvania history," said Ridge. "I will proudly sign this bill into law."
Monday, Ridge announced a compromise with House and Senate leaders on the plan. The bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 49 to 1, and the house yesterday, 166 to 28.
First introduced by Ridge in January, "Growing Greener" is an initiative to do the following:
- Preserve farmland and protect open space,
- Eliminate the maintenance backlog in state parks,
- Clean abandoned mines and restore watersheds,
- Provide funds for recreational trails,
- Help communities address land use, and
- Provide an upgraded water and sewer system.
"Growing Greener" will spend $645.9 million over five years, $105.9 million in the first year and $135 million a year for the next four.
It will come from about $473.4 million in new money from the General Fund and $172.5 million in funds redirected from the Recycling and Hazardous Sites Cleanup funds, and the Landfill Closure Accounts.