HARRISBURG, Pa. — Dirt and gravel roads across Pennsylvania will see environmentally and economically sustainable improvements through a $30 million funding boost as part of comprehensive transportation legislation signed by Gov. Tom Corbett.
“Pennsylvania’s dirt and gravel roads will be improved just like their paved counterparts, benefiting the 4 million Pennsylvanians who travel rural roads every day,” said state Agriculture Secretary George Greig.
“Better maintenance means less runoff and sediment to clog and pollute our waterways,” he said. “It will also improve transport conditions for the tractors and trucks that haul farm equipment, milk, lumber and other products on these 20,000 miles of roads.”
The transportation package provides $28 million annually to the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission’s Dirt and Gravel Roads Maintenance Program, which distributes the funds to 65 participating county conservation districts across the state.
At least $8 million of that total is earmarked each year for low-volume sealed and paved roads that carry fewer than 500 vehicles per day.
The additional $7 million will be distributed to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry for improving state park and forestry roads.
Total program funding is $35 million.
Previous funding levels limited work to about 200 sites per year. The additional funding increases that number to 800. Years of underfunding have created a backlog of 14,400 work sites.
With in-kind funding and tight administrative spending limits, the program estimates for every state dollar invested, $1.15 of project work is completed.
The conservation commission, part of the state departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, provides support and oversight to the state’s 66 county conservation districts.
For more information, call the commission at 717-787-8821 or visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “Dirt and Gravel Roads.”