NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — When it comes to repairing local roads, cities and towns in Massachusetts are fighting for every dollar they can get from the state.
Communities all over are battling to keep up with crumbling infrastructure.
Northampton is one of the communities. “I hear from citizens all the time. My road’s got potholes in it. It’s crumbling. When are you going to fix my street…it’s very frustrating to have to tell them we’ve got this big list and a lot of needs but we only have a finite amount of resources to work with,” says Mayor David Narkewicz.
The Massachusetts Municipal Association which represents cities and towns across the state says there is a $362 million funding gap between what communities require to maintain roads and the amount of state funding currently available.
Northampton knows all too well what that funding gap means.
Mayor Narkewicz says Northampton receives a million dollars a year with the need at $35 to $40 million.
The Mass. Municipal Association report indicates that cities and towns need to spend more than $500 million a year to rebuild and maintain roads in good condition, but they end up spending a lot less, because state funding comes up short.
The Patrick administration is working on a new transportation-financing proposal.
Local state representatives like Peter Kocut want to make sure Western Massachusetts gets its fair share of state money
“What we Western Massachusetts legislators are looking for is something that’s equitable. In other words, we’re not going to pay into a revenue stream that sees most of the money end up in Eastern Massachusetts,” says rep. Kocut.
State funding for local roads stands at $200 million a year.
Cities and towns are asking for a 50 percent funding increase.