MMA advocates for increase in Ch. 90 funding to $300M per year

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At the MMA Annual Business Meeting on Jan. 21, members will vote on a resolution calling for a $300 million Chapter 90 bond authorization for fiscal 2018.
The proposed Resolution Ensuring a Strong and Enduring Fiscal Partnership Between Cities and Towns and State Government in Fiscal 2018 and Beyond, proposed by the MMA’s Fiscal Policy Committee, urges the enactment of a multi-year transportation bond bill providing at least $300 million per year for local road projects, including notice of allocations by April 1 each year.
The MMA continues to analyze the results of its statewide Chapter 90 survey. More than 225 communities responded to the survey, conducted this past fall.
The survey asked communities about the total amount needed annually to keep their roads in a state of good repair. Communities were also asked to provide information on pavement management system usage and revenue or borrowing authorized at the local level for road construction projects.
The Chapter 90 survey will provide a data-based estimate of the annual need statewide to keep roads in a state of good repair. The MMA’s 2014 survey found that cities and towns need $639 million annually to keep 30,000 miles of local roads in a state of good repair. Preliminary results from the 2016 survey indicate that the overall need has increased by about 9.6 percent since 2014.
At the Nov. 9 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission, Auburn Town Manager and MMA Board member Julie Jacobson stressed the importance of a multi-year, $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill. Jacobson said the $300 million level – an increase over the $200 million authorized in most recent years – would help cities and towns more properly fund local road and bridge maintenance programs.
Auburn Public Works Director William Coyle spoke at the meeting about the importance of a multi-year bond bill to allow municipalities to plan ahead and use funds efficiently. A Chapter 90 increase would help cities and towns properly maintain more local roads, rather than having to rebuild them. Studies show that having adequate resources for maintenance saves money over time.