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Local Use Fee Funding to Aid Infrastructure Projects

by and on October 29, 2019 4:45 AM

An undersized drainage system is causing problems in Port Matilda.

The size of the system has bred flooding issues that are affecting the borough building and garages, as well as the rail line that runs through town.

Now, borough officials are looking to the state and county for money to remedy the problems.

“This is to prevent excessive runoff that is coming off the hill,” said Mike Bloom, Centre County’s assistant director of planning and community development, at a recent Centre County commissioner meeting.” If you are familiar with where the borough building is, (storm water) is coming off some of the side streets in the area and off PennDOT’s routes and coming across and hitting the natural dam that is the rail line there.

“As it builds up, the runoff is becoming pretty significant. It is going across the rail line and causing some issue there, with the rail line itself, then it is actually working its way down through the borough’s property, flooding the borough building, flooding the garages and actually dropping down over the hill onto some of the other borough streets as well. So, it has become a pretty big issue.”

Bloom said SEDA-COG and PennDOT crews have determined the majority of the problems are due to the undersized drainage systems within the PennDOT right-ofway, the rail authority’s right-of-way and in the borough streets.

To fix the issue it will cost $450,000.

The borough is applying for $330,000 from PennDOT’s Multimodal Transportation Fund for the project, and the state requires a match from the municipality for the remainder of the funding.

SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority said it will put in half of the required match, and Port Matilda Borough asked Centre County commissioners if they could help by providing them with $60,000 from the county’s fee for “local use fund” for the rest.

The “local use fund” fee is the $5 fee that’s tied to vehicle registration which the county implemented in 2017.

“Port Matilda Borough is not in the position financially to be able to do this, but we felt it would be a good opportunity to perhaps leverage some of the local use funding to help push this project and move it forward,” said Bloom.

“In my opinion, this is a very good project and I would recommend this one, certainly,” said Bloom.

The commissioners agreed to include providing the funding to the project on Tuesday's consent agenda. The funding will only be provided if the state’s multimodel grant is approved.

Commissioners also agreed to include the approval of $50,000 of local use funding toward the $1 million project in Milesburg to help leverage state funds to fix three bridges in the borough on the next consent agenda. SEDA-COG is applying for a $700,000 PennDOT Multimodal Transportation grant, and is also putting in $200,000 for the project. Milesburg Borough is contributing $50,000 as well.

“Again, (the situation in Milesburg) is similar to Port Matilda Borough and I think it hits all the requirements,” said Bloom.

Reports on the county's allocations of the local use fee since 2017 can be viewed here.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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