Reps. Cephas, Harris host roundtable to examine repairs of alleyways, driveways, sidewalks

Majority Policy Committee tours West Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, April 17 – The House Majority Policy Committee held a roundtable discussion and tour in the Overbrook section of West Philadelphia detailing infrastructure investment needs. The committee also examined the benefits of a need for a partnership between state and local municipalities to improve public-use infrastructure throughout all of Pennsylvania.

“While we witnessed some of the needs of my community firsthand today, I’m working in Harrisburg to create a program to empower all municipalities throughout the state to create a neighborhood infrastructure repair programs to support working people and working families,” said roundtable and tour host Rep. Morgan Cephas, who represents portions of Philadelphia – including the Overbrook section. “Pennsylvania has some of the oldest housing stock in the nation, and while the varied architecture is impressive, the repairs and upkeep needed for even the public-use infrastructure – like pathways and alleys – can be overwhelming for property owners.”

The day began with a roundtable discussion at the Overbrook School for the Blind in the Overbrook Farms section of Philadelphia. During the event, the committee heard from Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr.; Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation President and CEO David S. Thomas; and Emily Seeburger from the University of Pennsylvania's Urban Health Lab.   

“Alleyways, driveways and sidewalks are public-use spaces,” Rep. Jordan Harris said. “Homeowners, however, are struggling to provide the generational upgrades and repairs necessary to many of these pathways used by the community. We’ve seen it throughout the commonwealth and here in my home in Philadelphia, the city of the first class. I’m proud to have worked alongside Chair Cephas at finding a way to help homeowners make these spaces safe, accessible and ready to use for future generations.”  

Philadelphia Delegation Chair Cephas and Harris authored H.B. 948, a bill that would allow municipalities to create repair programs with matching local and state funds to help owners make needed repairs – including providing options to alleviate or spread out costs over years for public-use investments. This includes repairs needed for alleys and sidewalks.

“Prices for construction and even everyday household items have skyrocketed since the pandemic,” Majority Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro said. “The cost to repair just a portion of broken curbing can cost thousands of dollars, let alone replacing an entire sidewalk or upgrading an alleyway entrance. I am thankful for the work Chair Cephas and Chair Harris are doing to look for a solution to Pennsylvania’s infrastructure needs.”  

During the tour, members of the committee viewed areas that could benefit from public-use infrastructure upgrades. They also talked with city leaders about the commonsense benefits of Cephas and Harris’ bill, H.B. 948, and how it would allow property owners and homeowners to access a program to make repairs to driveways, retaining walls and alleyways that have degraded and are either a nuisance or at a point where upgrades would preserve or improve public safety.   

Information about this hearing and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at Testimony from today’s hearing and past policy hearings can be found at Photos to be used for publication can be found at