Impact fees give city chance to meet overdue street needs

Call it the eye test. More appropriately, call it the shock absorber test.

Whatever you term it, our suspicion is that most motorists driving the streets of Williamsport would say they are in worse shape than normal.

Making matters worse, the cost to repair streets has gone up 10 percent due to increases in the price per ton of asphalt and labor costs.

Fortunately, there is a natural gas drilling explosion going on in Pennsylvania and Williamsport benefits handsomely from the impact fee companies are being charged for the gas they are taking out of the ground. The city is receiving more than $1 million in natural gas impact fees this year and Mayor Gabriel J. Campana is designating it for street reconstruction.

Although the city doesn’t have the community development and liquid fuels monies it used to receive for streets, it nevertheless plans to spend $360,000 in community development money and $66,000 in state liquid fuels money. Added up, that’s almost $1.5 million the city will be spending on street work this fall, compared with a norm of $500,000 to $600,000.

There are 25 streets on the improvement list. The conditions of city streets are such that we are certain the list does not include every street that needs curbing, resurfacing and milling.

But it’s a start and a much greater streets initiative than normal.

We hope the improvements will create a noticeably better profile for the city’s streets.

We also hope the regular critics of the natural gas drilling industry will be fair enough to acknowledge that there are positive impacts from its presence in our region. We won’t hold our breathe on that one.