The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga) that would increase loan amounts available for volunteer fire and ambulance companies under the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program (VLAP).
House Bill 1706 would increase the amounts for loans as follows:
- Establishing and modernizing facilities: increased from $200,000 to $400,000, or 50 percent of the total cost, whichever is less.
- Purchasing apparatus, ambulances, etc.: increased from $100,000 to $200,000 or 50 percent of the total cost, whichever is less.
- Aerial apparatus: increased from up to $150,000 to up to $300,000.
- Ambulance or light duty rescue vehicle: increased from up to $50,000 to up to $100,000.
- Watercraft rescue vehicle: increased from up to $15,000 to up to $30,000 or 50 percent of the cost of the ambulance or rescue vehicle, whichever is less.
- Purchasing protective equipment, etc.: increased from up to $10,000 to up to $20,000.
- Repair of apparatus equipment: increased from $1,000-$35,000 to at least $2,000, not more than $70,000 or 80 percent of cost, whichever is less.
- Purchasing used apparatus: increased from $60,000 to $120,000 or 80 percent of cost, whichever is less.
- PennFirs hardware and software, one-time only: increased from up to $2,000 to up to $4,000 or 75 percent of cost, whichever is less.
Baker noted that loan amounts may exceed limits by $20,000 (increased from $10,000) for the purchase of firefighting apparatus, ambulance or rescue vehicles manufactured/assembled in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 1706 also would allow companies that merge or consolidate to hold up to a combined total of up to 10 loans for a period of 10 years.
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