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Liquid fuel allocations provide boost to Chartiers Creek-area road expenses

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

State money meant to possibly lessen the load on local taxpayers won't go very far right now, according to some municipal officials.

“You always hope for more, but there hasn't been an increase in quite some time, either,” said Carnegie Councilman Mike Sarsfield of the borough's allocation from the Municipal Liquid Fuels Program for 2013-2014.

PennDOT makes annual payments to municipalities to pay for roadway expenses such as snow removal and repaving.

Eligible roadways within each community must be public streets, meet dimension requirements and have a speed limit of at least 15 mph.

The funding increases are part of a new state transportation plan signed into law this month. The plan calls for $345 million in liquid fuels payments to be allocated to certified municipalities on March 3 — about $25.1 million more than last year. The payments will increase by the same amount in each of the next five years.

“Because of the new transportation plan that I signed into law,” Corbett said earlier this month, “Pennsylvania will be able to increase these resources in coming years which could provide some relief to local taxpayers from these costs.”

But it won't go very far, said Carnegie borough manager Stephen Beuter.

“That (increase) would only get us a fraction of a road,” Beuter said. “Regardless of the amount, any increase will benefit us.”

He said the borough will use the money to pay for the paving of two full streets and two partial streets.

In Collier Township, Mother Nature probably will scoop up the bump in funds.

“That increase probably would go directly to salt,” township manager Sal Sirabella said. “It's not much.”

He said the township anticipated no change in its allocation from the Municipal Liquid Fuels Program for 2013-14, but will receive $162,354, which is an increase of $11,691.

Sirabella said the township uses liquid fuels money to pay for electricity for street and traffic lights. Any balance left over goes toward salt.

Public works crews have gone through the 9,000 tons originally ordered for the winter. It takes 100 tons to salt the township's 13 miles of roads, and each 100 tons cost $8,000.

“(The increase) basically gets us enough salt to go through Collier one and a half times,” Sirabella said.

In Bridgeville, liquid fuels payments will be $106,813, an increase of $7,700 over the 2012-13 allocations.

Borough Manager Lori Collins said Bridgeville has put together its road-paving plan for the year, which generally is paid for out of its liquid fuels allocations.

She said bids are being sought for work that includes maintenance to Ridge Road between Vesper Street and Fryer Avenue.

A portion of the road toward the end is concrete, and because of that, the borough will have to advertise for a separate set of bids for that stretch, she said.

She said the liquid fuels increase could help with work on that portion.

“It all helps some, and we'll take anything,” she said.

Despite the small number of options available with this first year of increases, Sarsfield is optimistic.

“Added to what we were already getting, now it does make a difference. It's more of a road,” he said. “At the end of five years, it does become worth something.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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