NORRISTOWN — Municipalities in Montgomery County may soon find financial assistance for needed infrastructure with funding through the county’s transportation program.
“In a nutshell, this is a competitive program for our 62 municipalities to improve their own locally owned transportation infrastructure,” said Matt Popek, deputy chief of Montgomery County’s transportation planning section.
Popek addressed county commissioners at an April 7 board meeting to share details of the long-running grant program launched five years ago. This year’s application window is expected to open in June.
Funds for the transportation program are raised through revenue from the $5 vehicle license fee, according to Popek, of which $1 million is then earmarked for specific use from the county’s capital budget.
In his presentation, Bobek outlined the initiative’s top priorities: distributing registration revenue equitably, funding projects across the county, increasing overall investment in transportation, and achieving the goals of “Montco 2040: A Vision shared”, the county’s comprehensive plan.
One-third of Montgomery County’s municipalities “contain no county-owned roads or bridges,” according to Popek, who added that local boroughs and townships own about 330 bridges, 1,150 traffic lights and 2,700 miles of roads.
Over the past four years, the county’s transportation program has distributed about $3.97 million in grants to 24 municipalities, according to Popek. Thirty-seven projects have been funded since the program’s inception in 2018.
Initiatives have included pedestrian improvements, traffic signal upgrades, new bridges and solutions to relieve congestion, Popek said.
Popek highlighted completed projects in the borough of Royersford, as well as the townships of Whitemarsh, Whitpain and Worcester during his presentation.
“All the money that’s supposed to come back from the state to help pay for the maintenance and upkeep of each of these municipalities, the median payment is only about $335,000 a year,” he said. he declares. “There are therefore always requests for money from our various municipalities to ensure that all our infrastructures are functioning and in good condition for the general public.”
The application window for the program’s fifth year is expected to run from June 1 to July 29, according to Popek. Municipalities are eligible to apply for construction-related projects, but Popek noted that some public-private partnerships could be considered.
Noting some differences from last year, Popek pointed out that there would be more “focus area clarification” with respect to projects involving bike paths, “county assets” and companies “Clean Streets,” a policy that emphasizes road accessibility, according to the program’s website.
Additional information regarding the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would also be included in the program guide, according to Popek.
Of the $1 million allocated, participants can receive a maximum of $500,000, according to Popek. He clarified in his presentation that there is an element of “local matchmaking” that requires selected applicants to contribute. “The local match is 20% for the first $200,000 of county transportation funds that are committed and … it’s 50-50 for anything over $200,000 up to that maximum price of $500,000” , said Popek.
After the July 29 deadline, Popek said projects will be chosen in August and September and awarded in October.
“We appreciate this great update, and I know it is an extremely popular program with our municipalities across the county,” said Montgomery County Commissioners Chair Val Arkoosh. “So we’re looking forward to seeing what applications we get this year.”
For more information on the 2022 County Transportation Program, visit montcopa.org/countytransportationprogram.