The new state transportation funding bill passed in the fall includes a hefty gasoline tax hike at the pump that no one is thrilled about.
But one of the upsides of the bill is a robust increase in state liquid fuels funding to local municipalities, $220 million in the next five years.
The first dividend on that liquid fuels revenue increase to municipalities in Lycoming County comes this year, when liquid fuels allocations are being increased by $305,000. Those allocations will total $4,214,427 for 2013-14, compared with $3,909,729 in 2012-13.
If Sun-Gazette discussions with municipal and road officials are an accurate indicator, the allocation increases will result in much more paving throughout the county. While the liquids fuels funding can be used for a variety of other related expenses, most officials interviewed recently focused on using as much as possible of the funding for paving.
That is welcome news to motorists, we are certain.
The perception of street, road and bridge conditions is much more a matter of eyesight and feel than science, but our guess is that a majority of the regular travelers of streets in most of the county municipalities believe they are in worse shape than a few years ago.
And that's an important perception.
Whether a motorist bounces up and down or rides smoothly on a well-traveled street is perceived as one of the best indicators of the overall condition of the borough, township or city they are traveling. And from a practical standpoint, a well-maintained street saves automobile maintenance costs.
In the City of Williamsport, the liquid fuels allocation is being increased from $614,679 to $662,385.
We can't imagine there aren't more than enough critical paving needs to gobble up that extra $47,706.
So, while you are grinding your teeth at the gasoline pump in coming months, be heartened that there just might be some good coming from the gasoline tax increase that you will notice on your regular travels.