DIRT, Gravel and low volume road maintenance program
Pennsylvania has more than 25,000 miles of unpaved roads, about 17,500 of which are owned by local municipalities and provide access for the state's agriculture, mining, forestry, and tourism industries as well as more than 3.6 million residents. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), non-point source pollution is responsible for 88 percent of all impaired stream miles in Pennsylvania. Dirt and gravel roads have historically been significant contributors of non-point source pollution, both in terms of sediment and dust.
Signed into law in April 1997, and amended in November 2013, as Section 9106 of the PA Motor Vehicle Code (§9106), the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program is based on the principle that informed and empowered local control is the most effective way to stop pollution from dirt and gravel roads. The law created a dedicated, non-lapsing fund to provide money and training to local communities for local road maintenance. The funds are distributed by the State Conservation Commission (SCC) to 65 county conservation districts in Pennsylvania (out of 67 counties) that participate in the Program.
Section 9106 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code annually provides for the allocation of $35,000,000 from the Motor Vehicle License Fund for the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program. Of that amount, $7,000,000 is allocated directly to the Bureau of Forestry for maintaining the dirt and gravel roads in their jurisdictions. The SCC is responsible for allocating the remaining $28,000,000 to the 64 County Conservation Districts who participate in the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program, including up to $8,000,000 for the maintenance of low-volume roads. The fund is administered as a non-lapsing, nontransferable account restricted to maintenance and improvement of dirt and gravel roads.