RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Transportation has begun distributing more than $147.7 million in State Street Aid, also known as the Powell Bill fund, to 507 municipalities across the state. The initial allocation, half of the overall total, was sent out on Wednesday. The rest will be paid by Jan. 1, 2016.
This year's total is about the same as last year, increased by about $400,000. And the number of municipalities who applied for the funds is the same as last year. The money can primarily be used for resurfacing of streets, but may also be used for the construction, widening, maintaining or repairing of any street, bikeway, greenway or sidewalk that is maintained by the municipality.
"This program assists local governments in improving transportation connectivity and safety for its residents and visitors by helping upgrade and repair their transportation systems," says Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson.
Powell Bill funding is generated by revenue from the state gas tax and other highway user fees. The program has allocated nearly $4.1 billion to municipalities over its 65-year history.
The amount each municipality receives is 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 down to $110.8 million for population and $36.9 million based on street miles. Based on those categories, that breaks down to almost $21 per person and $1,637 per mile.
Twenty two cities are receiving at least $1 million, led by Charlotte at $20.4 million, based on its population of 803,392 and 2,455 miles of maintained roads. Raleigh will receive $10.6 million, followed by Greensboro ($7.4 million), Winston-Salem ($6.5 million), Durham ($6.2 million) and Fayetteville ($5.5 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.
A complete list of cities and towns receiving Powell Bill funds and the amounts, and additional information about the State Street-Aid (Powell Bill) Program is on the NCDOT website.