After a lengthy delay that threatened to kill several road construction projects until next year, Gov. Deval Patrick has announced 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 $674,945 for Gloucester, $193,466 bound for Rockport, $133,816 targeted for Essex and $148,827 pegged for Manchester.
Farther down Route 128, the release will steer $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 in announcing the release.
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. The new fiscal year is already under way — having begun last Sunday, July 1.
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.
Jesse Roman may be contacted at email@example.com.
Here's how much of the state's so-called Chapter 90 local communities are receiving: