Casey and Holden Urge Support for Courthouse to Boost Harrisburg’s Economy

Courthouse Will Create Jobs, Revitalize Neighborhood and Provide Relief for Criminal Justice System

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Congressman Tim Holden (D-PA) today urged Senate and House leaders to support the program needed to fund the construction of the new federal courthouse in Harrisburg in order to continue the benefits of job creation and neighborhood redevelopment associated with the project.

“The planned courthouse has already attracted private development into the community and the project will create much needed construction jobs,” said Senator Casey. “I strongly support this long-overdue project to give the Harrisburg economy a boost.”

“The construction of this courthouse will bring much needed economic development to the 6th and Reily area of Harrisburg,” said Congressman Holden. “There is both public and private support for this project within the city. Congress must fund the GSA Federal Buildings Fund to get this and other federal projects rolling to create jobs and stir economic activity.”

In a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittees, Senator Casey and Congressman Holden urge the lawmakers to adequately fund the General Services Administration’s Federal Buildings Fund, which will support construction of the courthouse in Harrisburg. The Senate has already reduced funding for the program, and Senator Casey and Congressman Holden warn that further cuts will hinder economic development in the city.

Full text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Richard Durbin
Chairman
Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee
Senate Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Jerry Moran
Ranking Member
Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee
Senate Appropriations Committee

The Honorable Jo Ann Emerson
Chairwoman
Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee
House Appropriations Committee

The Honorable José Serrano
Ranking Member
Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee
House Appropriations Committee

Dear Senator Durbin, Senator Moran, Congresswoman Emerson and Congressman Serrano:

We write to express our strong support for adequate appropriations to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Buildings Fund.  In such a challenging fiscal climate, we appreciate the hard work and leadership you have shown in crafting this legislation.  While we recognize the importance of making difficult decisions in the budget, we seek to maintain investment in projects that create jobs and drive economic development.  With these priorities in mind, we strongly urge the conferees to support the funding levels appropriated by the Senate for construction and acquisitions in the GSA’s Federal Building Fund.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, these funds are needed to advance construction of a federal courthouse that has already spurred job creation and urban revitalization.  The old federal courthouse cannot satisfy the security and caseload requirements of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and for that reason, the GSA decided in 2010 to construct the new facility.  This project is overdue for Central Pennsylvania, and we are concerned about the consequences of further delay.

Beyond providing much-needed relief for the criminal justice system, the courthouse will anchor urban revitalization and create jobs.  In this difficult fiscal climate, Harrisburg has experienced severe economic hardship, yet the planned courthouse has already led to increased investment and development in the midtown area. 

Several companies have built condominiums and retail facilities in the area, and the promise of the federal courthouse has attracted this private sector development.  With job creation as our chief priority in this time of high unemployment, we also welcome the construction jobs that would be generated by the courthouse.  Finally, Harrisburg is eager for the federal court to vacate its current location, so this valuable downtown property will revert to the city’s tax base. 

The Senate has already made significant reductions to construction and acquisitions in the GSA’s Federal Building Funds, with funding levels of $60 million for FY 2012 compared with the enacted $85 million in FY 2011.  We appreciate the many challenges you face as you negotiate the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.  As you complete your important work, we request that the conferees maintain support for funds that are creating jobs and spurring growth through construction of needed facilities.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States

Tim Holden
United States Congressman

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