Wolf Administration Plans Project Labor Agreement

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs

While there have been several project labor agreements (PLAs) over recent years involving projects that incorporate public funding, the Wolf administration recently hinted at plans for Pennsylvania’s first ever PLA on a state-managed transportation project.

In a recent Philadelphia Inquirer article focused on the Delaware River Joint Toll Commission (DRJTC) and the project labor agreement they utilized on the $396 million Scudder Falls bridge replacement which carries Interstate 95 from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards intimated that the Department was looking at utilizing project labor agreements at the state level as well.

It didn’t take long for those plans to come to fruition as PennDOT quietly circulated plans to inject a PLA onto the reconstruction of Markley Street (US202) in Norristown, Montgomery County. While the Wolf administration has issued few PLAs since taking office in 2014, this project deviates from the past in two ways: 1) this marks the first PLA outside of the cities of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh for the administration, and 2) this will be the first time ever that PennDOT has utilized a PLA.

Calling it a “pilot” project, the Department plans to evaluate the effectiveness of PLAs to reduce cost overruns and work stoppages. While they have not committed to the future use of PLAs, the Department has signaled their openness to the idea. 

Meanwhile, ABC has solidified the business community to express disapproval of the PLA and plans to implement oppositive strategies to combat and halt the PLA.