Municipalities happy about boost in liquid fuels allocations
Thirty-six municipalities in Northumberland County will receive a combined $233,903 in additional liquid fuels payments March 3 to help maintain roads and bridges.
In a PennDOT news release Thursday, Gov. Tom Corbett announced that the state's new transportation plan will allow PennDOT to distribute $345 million in liquid fuels payments to certified municipalities by next month; the allocation is $25.1 million more than the 2013 figure, roughly an 8 percent increase.
Liquid fuels allocations are annual payments to municipalities to help pay for highway and bridge-related expenses such as snow removal and road repaving.
In total, the county municipalities will be allocated $3,242,700 for fiscal year 2014-15, up from last year's $3,009,797.
Coal Township will see the largest bump in funding, increasing by $17,790 from $229,375 last year to $247,165 this year, followed by Sunbury, increasing by $15,110 from $144,993 to $156,470.
Coal Township Commissioner Gene Welsh, who supervises the street department, said the budget for liquid fuels projects is always tight, and it's difficult to predict what will happen with snow and ice removal in the winter.
"We spent a lot more this year in snow removal than we have in other years, and the winter isn't over yet. It (the funding) will be a big help," he said.
The township can use the extra funding for winter maintenance or paving local roads, Welsh said.
"It hasn't been enough, but it is what it is," he said.
Five other municipalities - Delaware Township (from $168,487 to $181,488), Ralpho Township (from $147,799 to $159,212), Shamokin Township (from $138,544 to $149,207) and Shamokin (from $144,933 to $156,470) - will see funding increases of $10,000 or more.
John C. Clemens, Shamokin Township roadmaster, said the township has been fortunate in recent years with the funding, but "all it takes is a bad winter or a broken vehicle to put us in the hole real quick."
As with Coal Township, Clemens said Shamokin Township has had more work to do this winter so far than in recent years.
"It definitely will help local municipalities that are cash strapped. Maybe we could do an extra road project with the money," Clemens said.
With mandates being added to municipalities and costs of material increasing, the extra funding will be a good thing, he said.
Corbett said in the release that the investment "helps our towns meet the tough challenge of maintaining municipality-owned roads and bridges. Because of the new transportation plan that I signed into law, Pennsylvania will be able to increase these resources in coming years which could provide some relief to local taxpayers from these costs."
There are 119,847 miles public roads in Pennsylvania, with 77,889 of those miles owned by municipalities and eligible for liquid fuels. The formula for payments is based on a municipality's population and miles of locally-owned roads.
To be counted as eligible for liquid fuels, a roadway must be formally adopted as a public street by the municipality, meet certain dimension requirements and be able to safely accommodate vehicles driving at least 15 mph.
Under Act 89, the new transportation plan Corbett signed in November, liquid fuels reimbursements will increase by roughly $220 million over the next five years.
The following is a list of municipalities and their liquid fuel payments from fiscal year 2012-13 to fiscal year 2013-14:
- Coal Township: $229,375 to $247,165.
- Delaware Township: $168,487 to $181,488.
- East Cameron Township: $16,373 to $17,642.
- East Chillisquaque Township: $25,365 to $27,322.
- Jackson Township: $60,266 to $64,901.
- Jordan Township: $77,456 to $83,406.
- Lewis Township: $112,923 to $121,613.
- Little Mahanoy Township: $20,809 to $22,414.
- Lower Augusta Township: $70,354 to $75,765.
- Lower Mahanoy Township: $117,802 to $126,861.
- Mount Carmel Township: $69,250 to $74,525.
- Point Township: $100,620 to $108,405,
- Ralpho Township: $147,799 to $159,212.
- Rockefeller Township: $119,148 to $128,323.
- Rush Township: $96,292 to $103,692.
- Shamokin Township: $138,544 to $149,207.
- Turbot Township: $75,763 to $81,604.
- Upper Augusta Township: $91,942 to $99,039.
- Upper Mahanoy Township: $116,806 to $125,769
- Washington Township: $107,854 to $116,130.
- West Cameron Township: $16,503 to $17,778.
- West Chillisquaque Township: $65,904 to 71,008,
- Zerbe Township: $50,151 to $54,033.
- Shamokin: $144,993 to $156,470.
- Sunbury: $194,526 to $209,636.
- Herndon: $11,239 to $12,107.
- Kulpmont: $62,529 to $67,333.
- Marion Heights: $13,979 to $15,062.
- McEwensville: $7,927 to $8,540.
- Milton: $142,615 to $151,806.
- Mount Carmel: $114,230 to $123,200.
- Northumberland: $81,454 to $88,917
- Riverside: $60,336 to $66,762.
- Snydertown: $18,621 to $20,055.
- Turbotville: $14,568 to $15,747.
- Watsontown: $46,994 to $50,763.