Phillips-Hill wants to prohibit Mt. Rose Interchange contractor practices on PA highway construction projects

YORK – On the day the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said that the Mt. Rose Interchange project would be completed, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) unveiled legislation that would provide much-needed oversight to ensure similar instances like the one York Countians have been plagued with since 2015 never happens again.

“When families all across York County gather to celebrate graduations in the next several weeks, their children will have gone through high school or college in a shorter timeframe than it took this contractor to update this interchange along Interstate 83,” Phillips-Hill said. “A short 14-mile drive down I-83 shows a completely different story where a Pennsylvania-based contractor is on-time and on-budget for the Shrewsbury Interchange project.”

Phillips-Hill circulated a memo to her colleagues to solicit support for a bill she said will not allow another Mt. Rose Interchange debacle to happen again. The bill would require the state agency in charge of the procurement to take into consideration well-documented instances of “change order scheming” from out-of-state companies.

The senator acknowledges that the lowest responsible bidder is critical to stretching limited taxpayer dollars to the maximum, but the key is how responsible they have been in the past. In the case of the Mt. Rose Interchange project, the initial project was quoted at $58.3 million.

To date, the project exceeds $62 million based on reports from last October. Phillips-Hill said the cost overruns coupled with the fact that the deadline has been missed by as many years now as the original proposal stated.

“The people of York County have every right to be frustrated. If this was a contractor putting in a new bathroom at your home, you would never tolerate a construction crew doubling the timeframe and adding 10 percent of costs to the project you were initially quoted. This project needs to be completed and moving forward, we should not do business with entities that have a track record of doing what we have all witnessed over the last six years,” she added.