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West Deer paves way

| Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The rising price of oil affects more than the price of gasoline. It also affects the condition of the roadway we drive on -- because petroleum is a key ingredient in asphalt.

Last May, the price of a ton of liquid asphalt was $267. This year, it's $330 a ton, which is a 24 percent increase. In 2002, the price was $163. So that's more than a 100 percent increase in five years.

The increased cost for asphalt doesn't affect large projects, such as the Route 28 Expressway repaving, according to PennDOT.

It's more likely to affect small municipal road-paving budgets.

In Ford City, for instance, officials say some road paving may be delayed because of the increased price.

But West Deer officials, to their credit, have come up with a way to address the problem. It has teamed with Middlesex Township in Butler County to build a temporary asphalt plant.

West Deer Manager Jason Dailey said officials believe they can pave 20 to 30 percent more roads -- and save an additional 10 percent on materials because they are ordering in bulk.

Now that is using taxpayer money in a smart way.

We urge other municipalities, perhaps through their councils of government, to consider similar joint projects to save taxpayer money.

Some of our local roads in the Valley are in dire need of attention. And communities can't keep putting off repairs. We need to maintain these roads to protect property values and promote these towns as good places to live and do business.

But with the spike in oil prices, officials must be creative to provide these essential local services at a reasonable price.

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