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Working to Honor Local Heroes
With the Fourth of July holiday just behind us, I am pleased to report that the Senate recently passed and sent to the Governor a House Bill introduced by my colleague Lee James that will rename the Route 62 bridge over the Allegheny River in Oil City as the “Specialist Jonathan R. Kephart Memorial Bridge.”
Specialist Kephart was mortally wounded in April 2004 as a result of a firefight with insurgents when his unit, the 2nd Squad, 4th Platoon, 230th Military Police Company, was tasked with a rescue mission to assist another Military Police unit surrounded by enemy combatants.
In related news, I am also pleased to report that the language of my Senate Bill to honor Andrew J. White, a local firefighter who lost his life in the line of duty, was recently amended into a House Bill that is poised for final legislative approval in the near future.
Once enacted this measure will designate the State Route 4010 bridge over Sugar Creek in Sugarcreek Borough, Venango County as the “Lieutenant Andrew J. White Memorial Bridge.” White, a 12-year veteran of the Rocky Grove Fire Department, died when he was trapped during a January 2001 mobile home fire. He was 27 years old.
Local Keystone Girls and Boys Visit Capitol
I was pleased to meet with local participants in the Keystone Girls and Keystone Boys programs when they visited the Capitol on June 22. The Pennsylvania American Legion Boys State and Pennsylvania American Legion Auxiliary Girls State are the premier programs for teaching how government works while developing leadership skills and an appreciation for their rights as a citizen of our great nation and Commonwealth.
Nearly $3.8 Million in Marcellus Shale Revenue Coming to 21st District
Counties and municipalities in the 21st Senatorial District will receive $3,791,160 in funding from the Marcellus Shale impact fee levied on unconventional natural gas wells in 2015.
Counties and municipalities in the 21st District will receive the following distribution:
Impact fees are levied in addition to regular business taxes paid by every corporation in Pennsylvania. The disbursements were based on a formula established in Act 13 of 2012 to ensure communities that are affected by drilling receive their fair share of funding for projects like road and bridge repairs, housing and other infrastructure needs.
The impact fee generated $187 million in revenues for Pennsylvania counties and municipalities in 2015 alone. The total was a reduction from the $223 million generated in 2014. Since the impact fee was created in 2010, revenue returned to Pennsylvania counties and municipalities totals more than a billion dollars.
A complete list of disbursements to counties and municipalities is available on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s website at www.puc.state.pa.us.
2015 Shale Fee Disbursements for the 21st Senatorial District
Local Communities Receive Nearly $2 Million in State Grants
Three local communities were awarded grants totaling $1,977,241 by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) at its July 1 meeting,
Cranberry Township, Butler County, was awarded a $1.5 million Multimodal Transportation Fund Program grant to construct an additional eastbound lane on Route 228 from Interstate 79 to Franklin Road. The area already has the Westinghouse Electric corporate facility and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, with significant additional development expected. The Route 228 corridor is already a major connecting road for the Turnpike, Interstate 79, Route 19 and a number of other arterial routes. It is a significant crossroads for residents of several counties as they commute for work or pleasure. This additional traffic lane is certainly needed.
Oil City, Venango County, was awarded a $265,053 Flood Mitigation Program grant. Oil City will use the money for work on its ice boom on the Allegheny River which sustained serious damage last winter and could be in jeopardy if subjected to another harsh winter in its current condition. Oil City has an extensive history of ice jam flooding in its north side business district. This ice boom has played a key role in reducing ice jam flooding since it was installed in 1983. However, last winter the boom sustained severe damage. This grant provides important funding to make the repairs possible and ensure that the boom will be ready for the upcoming winter and for the years to come.
Slippery Rock, Butler County, was awarded a $212,188 Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant to build a walking trail system to connect four existing recreational areas in the Slippery Rock Community Park. It’s always gratifying to see efforts to improve our local recreational facilities receive state support. Grants that Pennsylvania provides for parks and recreation areas are long-term investments in communities and in improving the quality of life for everyone.
The CFA was established as an independent agency of the Commonwealth to administer Pennsylvania's economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania's economic growth.
Proceeds for the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program and the Flood Mitigation Program are generated through the CFA’s Marcellus Legacy Fund, which distributes impact fee revenue to projects across the state. The Multimodal Transportation Fund was created as part of Pennsylvania’s 2013 Transportation Funding Plan (Act 89).
State Police Report Fourth of July Holiday Crashes and Enforcement
Pennsylvania State Troopers investigated a total of 423 crashes during the three-day Fourth of July holiday driving period (July 2-4).
The crashes resulted in 165 injuries and three fatalities. Alcohol was involved in 52 of the crashes and the death of one person. These statistics cover only those crashes investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police and do not include incidents in which other law-enforcement agencies responded.
Of the three fatal crashes, only one individual was wearing a seat belt. Troopers arrested 447 motorists for driving under the influence and issued 9,069 speeding citations during the holiday weekend. State police also cited 628 people for not wearing seat belts and cited 219 drivers for failing to secure children in safety seats.
During last year’s three-day holiday driving period, four people were killed and 133 others were injured in the 473 crashes that state troopers investigated.
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Here to Serve You
Senate Box 203021
170 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
FAX: (717) 787-6088
TTY: (877) 659-4483
22045 Route 6
Warren, PA 16365-7952
FAX: (814) 728-2102
110 East Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
FAX: (724) 282-6852
302 Seneca Street
Oil City, PA 16301
FAX: (814) 677-6331