York County municipalities get more roadwork funding

Greg Gross

York County municipalities will receive an additional $2.2 million from the state in 2016, stemming from the transportation funding plan enacted a few years ago, to maintain and improve roads.

That means a $152,000 windfall for York City and a $120,000 increase for nearby York Township, according to the state Department of Transportation.

But as quickly as the money will hit local coffers, it will likely be spent just as fast, officials said.

York Township, which will receive $829,596 this year, up from $709,547 in 2015, will use its allocation to build a salt storage shed at its municipal complex, 190 Oak Road, and to improve roads already slated for projects, said Elizabeth Heathcote, township manager.

"Some of them need to be improved this year," Heathcote said of the roads, adding township commissioners are poised to approve the shed work later this month.

Funding: PennDOT will dole out $445.3 million, a $64 million — or 16 percent — increase in liquid fuels funding statewide this year.

In York County, funding increased 17 percent, from $13.2 million in 2015 to $15.4 million this year.

The increase in liquid fuels funding, used to maintain and improve locally owned roads and bridges, is part of the 2013 transportation spending plan, Act 89, signed by former Gov. Tom Corbett.

Motorist fees and the state's gas tax increased to provide for added funding. Fees for driver's licenses and vehicle registration increased, with the current annual vehicle registration replaced with two-year registration and license renewal now every six years instead of four; and the cap on the state's gas tax was lifted.

"These additional liquid fuels are needed in keeping up with the roads," said Rich Kirkpatrick, PennDOT spokesman. "Keeping the bridges and roads in a state of good repair is a daunting challenge."

Funding has gradually increased since just after Act 89 was signed into law. The 2016 allocations are the largest increase since then.

What it's used for: Liquid fuels money can be used by municipalities for various things, such as road construction and repair, buying new equipment, paying for employees who work on roads, building salt sheds and buying traffic lights and road signs, according to PennDOT.

York City will use its slightly more than $1 million in funding this year, up from $906,758 in 2015, to complete repaving and other projects, said Jim Gross, the city public works director.

One project is to repave the pot hole-ridden Pennsylvania Avenue from the bridge at Kiwanis Lake to Route 30. The funding will also help pay for other projects, as well as day-to-day street maintenance, he said.

"It's definitely a big help," Gross said of the added funds. "It makes a big difference."

Springettsbury Township will use its $111,000 in added funding to do additional projects, said Kristen Denne, township manager.

The township received $662,403 in 2015 and got $773,402 this year.

"We would do additional paving with it," Denne said, adding the township typically uses its full allocation for roadwork and maintenance each year.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.