RALEIGH – More than 500 cities and towns across North Carolina — including some in Bladen County — have started receiving their allocation of more than $147.6 million in State Street Aid, also known as Powell Bill funds from the N.C. Department of Transportation. The initial allocation, half of the overall total, was sent out to 508 municipalities last week. The rest will be paid by Dec. 30. Towns and cities must apply for the funds, and there are the same number of recipients as in 2016.
The Powell Bill restricts the use of the money to be primarily for the resurfacing of streets within the corporate limits of the municipality, but it can also be used for other projects, including maintaining, repairing, constructing, reconstructing or widening of any street or public thoroughfare including bridges, drainage improvements and curbs and gutters. That also includes the 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. “These funds support projects selected by local government such as resurfacing and repairing roads, and enhancing existing infrastructure.”
Municipal officials are legally responsible for the proper management of these funds and can be held personally liable for any unauthorized expenditures. 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 down to $110.7 million for population and $36.9 million based on street miles, which is almost $20 per person and $1,620 per mile.
Twenty three cities are receiving at least $1 million, led by Charlotte at $20.5 million, based on its population of 830,258 and 2,480 miles of maintained roads. Raleigh will receive $10.6 million, followed by Greensboro ($7.3 million), Winston-Salem ($6.4 million), Durham ($6.2 million) and Fayetteville ($5.3 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.