Lancaster County will receive a little over half a million dollars as its 2014 share of the so-called drilling Impact Fee, meant to help municipalities offset impacts associated with natural gas drilling.
The Impact Fee, or Act 13, was signed into effect in 2012 by Governor Tom Corbett. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is responsible for collecting a fee from drillers and then disbursing it to counties across the state to facilitate improvement programs and various repairs or infrastructure upgrades.
Lancaster county’s 2014 share is $507,694.29 from the state’s total of $223.5 million. The amount is marginally higher than what the county received in 2013. State-wide collection was marginally less than what it got in 2013.
Northampton and Lehigh counties stand to receive a combined $627,795 in 2014 impact fees from natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale geological formation.
State Rep. Justin Simmons announced the checks will be distributed by July 1 from fees imposed last calendar year on drilling companies under Pennsylvania’s Act 13.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission distributes the Marcellus Legacy Fund money from 40 percent of collected impact fees, said Simmons, a Republican whose 131st District covers parts of Lehigh and Northampton counties.
On sparsely traveled back roads across Lancaster County, more than two dozen narrow, unassuming bridges built in a simpler era are showing their age.
Concrete is weathered and cracking. The decks are no longer safe for even moderate loads.
The Lancaster County commissioners are addressing the problem by turning to impact fee revenue from natural gas drillers. As of February, the county had $2.2 million available, said county engineer Scott Russell of Rettew Associates.
The commissioners are counting on continuing impact fee revenue to help fund the replacement or repair of nearly all 44 county-owned concrete or steel bridges over the next five years.