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Jefferson County Municipalities to see Increase in State Funding for Roads

December, 13, 2013
HARRISBURG – House Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) said today that Jefferson County municipalities are projected to receive a collective increase of more than $1.5 million in state funding over the next five years for local road construction and maintenance programs. 

This funding is a component of the recently enacted transportation funding bill and is expected to provide an additional $220 million a year in Municipal Liquid Fuels Program (MLFP) allocations statewide for local roads and bridges by the fifth year.   This is more than a 60 percent increase over current allocations to local governments.

Funding to Jefferson County municipalities is estimated to increase by $1.56 million from the Fiscal Year 2013-14 allocation of $2.5 million to more than $3.8 million in Fiscal Year 2017-18.

“Local governments often face tough challenges when it comes to infrastructure funding,” Smith said. “This funding package places an emphasis on the maintenance and upgrading of local roads. It gives municipalities more money to care for roads and bridges to the level that is truly needed.”

The MLFP funds a range of projects to support municipalities’ construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of public roads and streets. The amount of a municipality’s allocation is based on its population and miles of roads on its approved Liquid Fuels Inventory. 

Smith said the transportation funding bill also includes $8 million that will be available annually to municipalities to pave low-volume paved roads, coupled with the existing Dirt and Gravel Road Grant Program administered by the local conservation districts and funded by the fuel tax.

“Since local governments must concentrate the bulk of their maintenance funds on the most heavily used roads in their communities, these grants are for lightly traveled roads that aren’t always at the top of the priority list.” Smith noted.  “These roads can develop pot holes and other hazards that can make travel difficult.   It’s good to see this aspect of local infrastructure getting some attention.”

Another provision of the legislation addresses the prevailing wage rates that local governments must pay for the construction of public projects.   “Since 1962 local governments have had to pay an inflated wage rate for any project estimated to cost $25,000 or more,” Smith said. “This bill raises that threshold to $100,000. I hope this will allow for better local management and control of project costs.”

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