Although Hingham will receive approximately $150,000 more in Chapter 90 money for road funding than it usually does, the town still has a long ways to go before all of its roads are up to par.
Typically, the town receives $600,000 a year in the state funding, which helps to rebuild and repair local roads and bridges.
This year, Hingham is scheduled to receive $752,647, based on a population of 22,157, having 13,022 people employed within the town, and 110.06 miles of publicly accepted roads.
The town has already budgeted to contribute an additional $75,000; however, Hingham officials say that's far short of the $900,000 a year necessary to bring all their roads up to speed.
“Rodger Fernandez and the DPW did a study [a year ago] and they had a five-level standard, five being great, one being low. And 20 percent of our roads were either in failure stage or about to fail, the second stage. We had put forth a plan that said we need to spent some money to get a plan to accelerate and prevent the roads from deteriorating,” said Selectman Bruce Rabuffo.
According to Rabuffo, it costs five to six times more to repair a failing road than it does to maintain an average road.
Yet in order to repair the below-average streets, the town will need to spend $900,000 on roads every year for five years.
It’s an amount that just isn’t feasible at this time.
“At the time to make the decision, we didn’t know where the budget decision was going to be. At the time, we were negotiating insurance discussions with the GIC, and have had some other things that didn’t close the gap completely for all of the issues we had. So we’re not going to close the gap this year, so we have to do more in future years and continue to deal with it,” Rabuffo said.
Although the available funding won’t handle all of Hingham’s needs just yet, state officials were pleased that statewide, the program received level funding from last year, at $200 million.
“Providing state aid to our local communities, such as Chapter 90 highway funds, is one of the most important things we do in the Legislature," state Senator Robert Hedlund said. "These funds allow for critical infrastructure improvements, while having the added benefit of creating employment opportunities in our cities and towns.”
Representative Garrett Bradley agreed, saying that, “The highway funding program is critically important for local communities to maintain roads, bridges and related infrastructure. During this challenging economic climate, it also provides engineering and construction jobs for hundreds of workers.”
Each town will receive the funding, allocated as part of the Transportation Bond Bill making its way through the Legislature, for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2013
In addition to the Chapter 90 funding, the town is also working with the state to do repairs on the 3A Rotary at the Hingham Bathing Beach as well as do some work along Derby Street and Queen Ann’s Corner.