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DOT Doles Out Dollars For Drivers

Traffic on I-40
Dave DeWitt
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Traffic on I-40
Traffic on I-40
Dave DeWitt
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Traffic on I-40

The N.C. Department of Transportation began distributing nearly $148 million to more than 500 cities and towns across the state to help with maintenance of local roads.

The funds, called State Street Aid or Powell Bill funds, are intended primarily for resurfacing streets, though may be used for other purposes as well, including for planning, construction and maintenance of bikeways, greenways or sidewalks.

“The Powell Bill funding helps local government improve transportation systems within their communities,” says State Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon in a news release about the program. “These funds support projects selected by local government such as resurfacing and repairing roads, and enhancing existing infrastructure.”

Much of the State Street Aid goes to the largest cities.
N.C. Department of Transportation
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Much of the State Street Aid goes to the largest cities.

The amounts distributed are based on a formula set by the N.C. General Assembly, with 75 percent of the funds based on population, and 25 percent based on the number of locally maintained street miles. This year, that broke to almost $20 per person and $1,620 per mile.

State Street Aid funding has increased through the years.
N.C. Department of Transportation
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State Street Aid funding has increased through the years.

Because of their population and size, much of the money is concentrated in the biggest cities. Across the state, 20 cities will receive at least $1 million, including Charlotte, which will receive more than $20 million.

The fund is named for Junius K. Powell, a former state senator and mayor of Whiteville, who was a primary sponsor of the 1951 bill to help the state's cities with urban road problems. The first allocation of Powell Bill funds was for $4.5 million and was distributed to 386 cities and towns.

Since then, the fund has grown to what it is today.

Copyright 2017 North Carolina Public Radio

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC data reporter, a position he took in September, 2016.
Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.