Patrick Administration Creates $30 Million Pothole and Winter Recovery Program

Town administrator Thomas M. Guerino said that a new state funding program will go a long way in paying for repairs to damage caused by this winter’s harsh weather.

“It’s going to be a big help with things like manholes hit, guardrails hit, equipment repair,” Mr. Guerino said.

State Secretary of Transportation Richard A. Davey announced last week that Governor Deval L. Patrick has established a $40 million “Pothole and Winter Recovery Program.” The program will provide cities and towns with $30 million in funding to repair potholes and other damage to roads, signs, facilities and equipment caused by the punishing winter. The remaining $10 million will be used by the MassDOT for similar repairs to state roads.

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Mr. Guerino said that Bourne is expected to receive $91,989 from the program. He said that the town does not typically appropriate money for those specific repairs. Instead, money is usually allocated from Chapter 90 funding that the town receives from the state, he said.

Department of Public Works superintendent George W. Sala said that the additional money from the Potholes and Winter Recovery Program will be a big help to his department.

“We’ll be able to use that money. It will come in handy,” Mr. Sala said.

He specifically mentioned that it will help with sealing cracks left behind by the tough winter in many of the town’s roads. He pointed to Old Plymouth Road, and said that there are large areas on that street that need to be cut out and repaired. There are some catch basins and drainage ditches that need to be fixed and guardrails that were damaged from cars sliding off the road in snowy or icy conditions.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials said that the one-time program is being funded through anticipated surpluses in this year’s capital spending plan, caused by the delay in passage of a transportation bond bill.

The program will allow municipalities to do “repairs of potholes, cracking, signage, guardrail or other damage.” In addition, the funds can be used for “repairs to municipal vehicles or transportation facilities, such as garages and fueling stations,” or “projects identified through written agreement between MassDOT and a municipality.”

Mr. Sala said that he is still appraising the town’s needs regarding any repairs to DPW equipment, vehicles or facilities.

“I’m still in the process of assessing everything, but we’ll get a plan together and submit it,” he said.

The program will begin this month and all qualifying work must be finished by this September. Cities and towns will contract directly with the department of transportation allowing them to draw their share of the available funding for the specific purpose of road and facility repairs. All contracts will include a “use it or lose it” clause to ensure that the money is used for projects announced prior to the end of the current fiscal year on June 30, and that the money is spent and projects completed by September.

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