Centre County commissioners are about to vote on a proposal that would create significant benefits to our safety, transportation and economic development in the Centre Region.
Act 89 of 2013 allowed counties to implement a $5 fee per registered vehicle, producing an estimated $596,100 for Centre County. The funds must be utilized within the county, improving roads and bridges.
The state Department of Transportation has developed a plan that allocates $2 million to each county that enacts the $5 fee. Beyond the initial $2 million our county can use these funds in future years in conjunction with state and federal funding.
Each year, county municipalities submit about $1.36 million in requests for these types of improvements. Without adoption of this program we would only receive about $187,000 in liquid fuels tax money from the state to put toward these requests. Clearly, our commissioners have an opportunity, if not a duty, to act on our behalf to secure these resources.
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The benefits of this program extend to economic development as well. Companies that are looking to locate their facilities look seriously at local infrastructure to determine if they will have good access to arterial routes that allow them to move their goods and services to market efficiently. They also look for communities that are proactive in pursuit of economic opportunity with a view to the future.
This is a nonpartisan issue. Everyone will benefit. It would be nice to see all three of our commissioners get behind this opportunity.
Dan Hawbaker, Port Matilda