SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 6, 2012

Road money finally heading to North Shore

After a lengthy delay that has threatened to kill several road construction projects until next year, Gov. Deval Patrick announced yesterday the release of $200 million in local transportation funding — money that cities and towns have been waiting on for months. 

About 5 percent of the state’s so-called Chapter 90 money will go to communities on the North Shore, including just over $1 million to Beverly, $920,000 to Danvers, $1.28 million to Peabody and $874,000 to Salem. 

The money can be used for local road, bridge and path projects and other related needs in each community. The amount of aid each community receives is based on a formula that takes into account the miles of road, the population and number of workers in each municipality.  

“This significant investment in the North Shore is part of our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure to continue the commonwealth’s strong economic recovery,” Patrick said yesterday.  

A legislative dispute delayed release of the money, which usually arrives in April so that communities have plenty of time to sign contracts for work like repaving roads. Until this week, however, cities and towns could not sign contracts or start the work. The late start irked many local leaders and may result in some paving projects being put off until fall, or even until next year.

“It may push off into calendar year 2013 work that we were expecting to be doing right now,” Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis said last month. “We have an active paving plan and a number of roads we planned to resurface. It’s now prime-time construction season, and it will be hard to make up for lost time.”

The governor filed a $1.5 billion transportation bill in March that included the Chapter 90 funding. The House quickly OK’d the transportation funding but shelved the rest of the bill, while the Senate passed the majority of Patrick’s bill. Disagreements about the nuances of the larger bill caused the local road funding to languish in conference committee for three months, until an agreement was finally reached last week.

WHAT local COMMUNITIES will receiveBeverly $1,029,148Danvers $920,156Salem $874,160Peabody $1,279,587Ipswich $442,076Marblehead $449,162Swampscott $302,863Hamilton $246,225Wenham $152,698

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