Massachusetts lawmakers seek to allocate funds for pothole repairs

The House approved a bill that would allocate $200 million for road repairs.

BOSTON (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts was hit hard by the winter snow storms this season, leaving many roads in great need of repairs.

Potholes can come out of nowhere on the road, but hitting one could cost you big bucks. Popped tires and bent rims are just some of the hassles you deal with, but many cities and towns in western Massachusetts can’t afford road repairs without the help of the state.

The House approved a bill that would allocate $200 million to reimburse cities and towns for roadway projects like repaving roads and putting up guardrails. Chapter 90 funding totaled $300 million back in 2015, but state budget cuts pushed the funding down.

“Chapter 90 is really important in western Massachusetts for the smaller communities,” State Rep. Paul Mark explained. “It’s almost the only avenue they have for money for road funding and fixing up roads and maintaining them.”

Communities are allocated funds based on city population and road mileage. Larger cities like Chicopee will receive about $1.2 million from the state. Smaller communities often have to save up state funding for a few years to be able to pay for large road projects.

“We’ve had a terrible winter,” Toby Gould said. “We have pot holes on top of pot holes on top of potholes now. To be able to repair roads, we need assistance from the state.”

Lawmakers are under a time crunch to get the funding bill passed with construction season starting in April. The bill must be approved by the State Senate and signed by the Governor before cities and towns can be reimbursed.

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