SNOW HILL — After a long, harsh winter, the roads and highways throughout Worcester are showing the signs of excessive salt use and plowing, but help is now on the way in the form of a $10 million special one-time appropriation to the counties and Baltimore City exclusively for pot holes and weather-related damage.
The Worcester County Commissioners learned this week Governor Martin O’Malley has signed off on the State Highway Administration’s special one-time appropriation of $10 million grant to be distributed among jurisdictions in Maryland for pot-hole repair and other road repairs. Public Works Director John Tustin on Tuesday alerted the commissioners to the pot-hole and other emergency funding heading Worcester’s way.
“During these winter months, our roads have continued to deteriorate as a result of snow and cold temperatures,” Tustin told the commissioners through a memo. “This has led to numerous pot holes along with the need to make extensive road repairs throughout the county. While exact areas of need have not been specifically identified as this time, the need for assistance remains.”
The $10 million to the counties was originally included in the state Senate’s budget for fiscal year 2015. However, because of the acute need for funding now rather than later, the House version of the budget included the special supplemental budget will expedited the grant process and allows the pot-hole funds to be doled out in fiscal year 2014. Essentially, the supplemental budget allows the funds to be released in the short term, rather than waiting for the new fiscal year.
At $252,726, Worcester’s share of the $10 million grant comes in somewhere in the middle among the counties and Baltimore City. Baltimore County will receive the most at $1.15 million, followed by Montgomery County, Baltimore City, Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County. Wicomico will receive slightly more than Worcester at $298,814. Neighboring Somerset will receive among the lowest amount at $151,188. Kent County will receive the lowest amount at $117,275.
Naturally, Worcester County officials agreed to accept the state funding for pot-hole repair and other weather-related damages to the roads associated with the unusually harsh winter. The counties were expected to return a completed questionnaire to the state by the end of this week, which is why Tustin needed the commissioners’ approval on Tuesday. Language in the questionnaire makes it known in no uncertain terms what the special funding can be used for, stating “the funds need to be used for pothole repairs and other road repairs necessitated by the extreme winter weather.”