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Pennsylvania Act 34 (1973)

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Act 34 of 1973, commonly known as the “Taj Mahal Act,” requires public hearings on any major construction plans – new buildings or significant renovations. The issues to be addressed are set by regulation: an explanation of why the project is needed (e.g., to reduce crowding, to improve safety), a list of alternative approaches considered, project description, expected maximum cost, financing plans, and tax impacts.[1]

Transparency requirements

Act 34 transparency requirements apply to real property purchases, new school construction and major additions to existing buildings (defined as additions that increase floor space by 20% or more). School districts must advertise the hearings and allow at least 30 days for public inspection of relevant documents, like floor plans.[1]

The Act requires a second Act 34 hearing if bid costs exceed by eight percent or more the estimated costs presented at the first hearing. The Act further requires a referendum if certain costs for a new building or substantial addition exceed the calculated referendum limit for that project. The requirements of Act 34 apply whether or not a project receives school construction funding from the Commonwealth.[1]