The state will release so-called "liquid fuel payments" to Pennsylvania municipalities beginning March 1....a month ahead of schedule....to ease the burden of winter storm cleanup costs. Governor Ed Rendell issued a disaster emergency declaration that allows PennDOT to send out $308 million to 2,556 local governments..."this winter has placed significant demands on the resources of both PennDOT and its partners in local government. The early release of these funds will help local governments to pay some bills a little bit earlier."
Liquid fuels allocations are annual payments issued to municipalities to help pay for transportation-related expenses, including snow removal and related materials costs. The funds are generated from a portion of the state gasoline tax and from Act 44.
Rendell says due to its own tight budget, the state can't provide additional monies but PennDOT will be available to help communities in distress...."whether we bill them or not depends.....we'll try to be cognizant of the municipalities' financial difficulties when we make that decision."
Rendell says he anticipates the state filing a request by early March for a disaster declaration to receive federal aid for the storm-related costs. New rules by the Federal Emergency Management Agency require that counties to be eligible to have received a record nor near record snow fall with a 48 hour period. One factor that could hurt Pennsylvania's chances for getting federal aid is that the two snow storms were about 72 hours apart. The total accumulation from the 2 storms did set a snow fall record.