Act 13 of 2012 establishes a Marcellus Legacy Fund that allocates a portion of the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee to the Highway Bridge Improvement Restricted Account. These funds are distributed to counties and are to be used to fund the replacement or repair of locally owned at-risk, deteriorated bridges. Eligible Municipalities can apply for assistance to complete the replacement or rehabilitation of a poor bridge or culvert.
An at-risk deteriorated bridge is defined by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) as one that is structurally deficient including those that are posted with weight restrictions. Act 13 requires PennDOT to approve a submitted “plan” to repair at-risk deteriorated bridges. Centre County works with the Centre Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to place available Act 13 dollars on the (TIP). The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) will be the official document for approval of these at-risk bridges.
Bridge replacement is defined as the complete removal and replacement of a structure. Bridge rehabilitation is defined as providing structural repairs listed in a Safety Inspection Report that will result in the removal of the “structurally deficient” or “poor” designation.
Eligible Activities Act 13 financial assistance may be used for all project phases as are necessary to complete the project. Project phases include: Preliminary Engineering, Final Design, Environmental Clearance, Right-of-Way Acquisition, and Construction. Funds may also be used to purchase materials and hire consultant or contractor services. Municipal staff and administrative costs are not eligible for reimbursement.
The Act 13 funds are distributed to the counties. However, the County cannot just write a check to spend the money. Act 13 legislation states that projects must be on an approved plan - a Regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). It is a reimbursement program. Award recipients do not receive financial assistance in advance of project completion. Once a project is authorized to proceed, municipalities will begin incurring costs for which they are responsible to review and approve. The municipality will only be reimbursed for actual project expenses, incurred within the agreed upon project period, up to the contractually approved amount for the project.