Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale boom has brought a lot of economic growth to rural regions sitting on top of gas deposits, but it has also increased the cost of housing.
Take Towanda, Bradford County, where the monthly rent for two-bedroom apartments has shot up from under $300 to more than $1,000 over the last five years, and the waiting list for public housing assistance has soared. (Check StateImpact Pennsylvania later this week for a much broader look at how drilling has affected Towanda.)
HARRISBURG – An initial outlay of revenue from gas drilling impact fees to address affordable housing needs in the Marcellus Shale region will be made next month by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
The agency’s governing board is scheduled to meet Dec. 13 to vote on proposals made by county and municipal officials to tap part of the $2.5 million collected for 2011 gas production, said spokesman Scott Elliott.
Under the 2012 impact fee law, affordable housing is identified as an impact of drilling because an influx of workers in small towns and rural areas has led to a scarcity of housing and increase in housing rents and prices. The issue was examined recently at a hearing of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23, Williamsport.