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$5 fee to augment transportation funds

County will vote on adding fee to vehicle registrations

July 9, 2018 News Extra

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Cars driving on Main St. in Butler on Friday July 6, 2018.

Butler County commissioners on July 18 will vote on a measure to add $5 to the vehicle registrations of almost every county resident.

But that increase could lead to state and federal dollars that would allow multiple road and bridge improvements throughout the county, including the completion of the Route 228 improvement project.

Kim Geyer, vice chairman of the commissioners, explained that she and Chairman Leslie Osche traveled to Washington, D.C., last August to meet with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and her staff regarding the county's many road and bridge needs.

Chao told Geyer and Osche that the Department of Transportation was looking to fund projects that were already in the works, “but needed a push over the goal line,” Geyer said.

“When we were driving back, I said to Leslie 'You know what? That's the Route 228 project,'” Geyer said.

Chao's staff told the commissioners in April that their application for the BUILD grant would be more competitive if the county were shown to have exhausted every option in creating sources of local funding for road and bridge projects, which is why the commissioners are planning to vote on the additional $5 registration fee, Geyer said.

Should the county receive the $25 million BUILD grant, that money would be used to straighten Ball's Bend on Route 228 and widen the entire road between Route 8 and Quality Gardens near the Adams/Middlesex border.

Geyer said because they know residents might oppose the fee, the commissioners included safeguards in the ordinance.

The commissioners will vote on the $5 fee at their 10 a.m. meeting on July 18 on the first floor of the county government center.

Read more about what other projects will be aided by the fee increase and what safeguards the commissioners have put into place in Monday's Butler Eagle.

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.