RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation has begun distributing more than $147.4 million in State Street Aid to Municipalities, also known as the Powell Bill fund, to 508 municipalities across the state. The initial allocation, half of the overall total, was sent out on Wednesday, Sept. 26. The next allocation will be paid by December 31.
The funding comes from revenues generated by the state gas tax and other highway user fees.
The number of municipalities who are receiving funds is the same as in the past five years. Per the Powell Bill requirements, the funding they receive is used primarily for the resurfacing of streets within the corporate limits of the municipality. But it can also fund repairing, constructing, reconstructing or widening of any street or public thoroughfare, including bridges, drainage, curbs and gutter, and other similar improvements. It can also help pay for planning, construction and maintenance of bikeways, greenways or sidewalks. Municipal officials are responsible for the proper management of these funds.
“The Powell Bill provides assistance for communities to maintain and improve the safety and condition of their transportation systems,” says State Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. “That in turn improves the quality of life for their residents as they travel for jobs, school and healthcare.”
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 $110.5 million for population and $36.8 million based on street miles. Based on those categories, that breaks down to $19.56 per person and $1,600.17 per mile.
Twenty-three cities are receiving at least $1 million, led by Charlotte at $20.5 million, based on its population of 845,235 and 2,480 miles of maintained roads. Raleigh will receive $10.7 million, followed by Greensboro ($7.2 million), Winston-Salem ($6.4 million), Durham ($6.3 million) and Fayetteville ($5.2 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. The overall total of aid has reached just over $4.5 billion.
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.