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May 26, 2024
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Yarmouth to get $458,000 for road and other infrastructure work

Yarmouth Town Administrator Robert Whritenour says the state could come up with a better formula for distributing money, but has no complaints about the nearly half a million dollars his town will get to spend on transportation infrastructure.

Cape and Islands towns will get $5.5 million from $100 million in overall state transportation infrastructure money. The funding has been secured through the so-called Fair Share amendment, a measure Massachusetts voters approved in 2022, which implements a 4% surtax on income above $1 million annually dedicated to public services such as infrastructure and education.

Whritenour said Yarmouth, which is slated to receive about $458,000, has a capital improvement plan for road and sidewalk maintenance that has been difficult to find money for. The Fair Share money will go a long way toward funding various projects, he said.

“And it’ll free up some money as well to address other projects, like we have a lot of stormwater projects that require improvement,” he said. “We certainly appreciate the additional resources because it’s very difficult to fund so many projects.”

Funding distribution formula questioned

Whritenour said the money will surely benefit Cape communities, but the way the funding is distributed doesn’t necessarily favor small, rural communities such as Yarmouth and most other Cape towns.

“We’re used to being disadvantaged by most of the state formulas down here on the Cape,” Whritenour said. “The only thing that they could do is assess the impact of the seasonal population, we have a lot of pressure on our local infrastructure because so many people come here in the summer.”

Communities will be able to use the funding to improve, build or maintain transportation infrastructure throughout their respective towns, and is being distributed based on a formula that factors in a municipality’s road mileage, population and employment.

“Transportation is fundamental to the way that Cape Cod not only lives year round, but is going to live in the future,” said Rep. Susan Moran, D-Falmouth. “It’s crucial for our climate goals, for our workforce needs and for economic development that we provide safe, on time and dependable transportation for people to get to work, appointments and school.”

Barnstable, the Cape’s largest town, will receive over $1M

Larger towns, such as Barnstable, which is slated to receive over $1 million, will be granted more funding based on the state formula. Smaller towns like Truro, which is receiving $106,301, will receive a smaller share. 

Mark Milne, finance director for the town of Barnstable, said the funds they received through the Fair Share amendment is nearly 50% more than would normally be received from their annual Chapter 90 funds — a stream of yearly funding from the state for transportation networks.

Chapter 90 funds have already been used for improvements to C Street, Main Street in Marstons Mills and Main Street in Barnstable Village, Milne said.

“We’re hopeful that this is a continuing funding program and we expect it to occur every year … until otherwise notified by the state,” he said. “This will be a nice boost for our public road infrastructure, which is one of the largest in the Commonwealth.”

Walker Armstrong reports on all things Cape and Islands, primarily focusing on courts, transportation and the Joint Base Cape Cod military base. Contact him at WArmstrong@capecodonline.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jd__walker.

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