Wednesday, September 17, 2014

House Committees Hear From Fish & Boat Commission On Oil Franchise Tax Funding

The House Game and Fisheries and Transportation Committees Tuesday hear from Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director John Arway on the Commission’s plans for using the additional funds it received under Act 89 of last year amending the Oil Company Franchise Tax.
The additional funds are intended to be used for the improvement of hazardous dams associated with lakes on which boating is permitted, including the development and construction of boating areas and the dredging and clearing of water areas where boats can be used.
“Based upon the recent figures of boaters consuming about 13.4 million gallon of fuel per year, we project over $2.9 million through the taxes collected during the fiscal year 2013-14, with annual revenues climbing to $4.5 million, $5.1 million, $5.8 million and $6.4 million through June 30, 2018,” Arway told the Committees.
Arway provided an overview of three projects which he described as “the most immediate beneficiaries of Act 89,” including Colyer Lake in Centre County, Glade Run Lake in Butler County, and Meadow Grounds Lake in Fulton County.
“At the same time we are moving forward on Colyer, Glade Run and Meadow Grounds, we have generated additional funding sources to design and rehabilitate other high-hazard dams across the Commonwealth,” said Arway. These include Speedwell Forge Lake in Lancaster County and Leaser Lake in Lehigh County.
He pointed out, “At the time Act 89 passed, we needed over $44 million to address nine high-hazard, unsafe dams.” Adding, “We now project needing $31.5 million to repair seven facilities, and an additional $15-20 million for a replacement dam at the Hereford Manor Property in Beaver County.”
Arway explained, “Estimates of our remaining dam repair needs are primarily composed of design and construction costs.” He added, “Please note these projections do not include costs associated with habitat improvement, fish stocking, or the development of additional recreational amenities around the facilities.”
A copy of his testimony is available online.
Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron) serves as Majority Chair of the House Game and Fisheries Committee and Rep. Gary Haluska (D-Cambria) serves as Minority Chair.
Rep. Nicholas Micozzie (R-Delaware) serves as Majority Chair of the House Transportation Committee and Rep. Michael McGeehan (D-Philadelphia) serves as Minority Chair.

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