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During Marlborough visit, Polito touts $30M pothole program

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – With roads across the state riddled with potholes attributed to the brutal winter, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito touted a new $30 million fund aimed at helping communities fill the axle-thumping craters and fix storm damage.

As part of her ongoing “Building Stronger Communities” tour, which aims to improve partnerships between communities and the state, Polito met with Mayor Arthur Vigeant, state
Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, and state Rep. Carmine Gentile, D-Sudbury, Monday morning.

During a phone conversation after the meeting, Polito said the Baker administration announced on Thursday that the Winter Recovery Assistance Program was set up to help cities and towns. The $30 million has been allocated from the existing fiscal 2015 bond authorization for the state Department of Transportation.

The money will be distributed based on the formula for Chapter 90 road and bridge repairs, which is keyed to a weighted average of a city or town’s population, employment and total mileage of roads.

Under the Winter Recovery Assistance Program, cities and towns can seek reimbursement from the state Department of Transportation to patch potholes, fix cracks in the pavement and repair or replace damage signs, guardrails, storm drains and line striping, said Polito.

With several crews out filling potholes across the city the past few weeks, the additional money will be a big help, said Vigeant.

“We’ll get that to use right away,” said Vigeant. “It’s a temporary fix. The permanent fix will come in the spring.”

During her visit to the city, Polito highlighted Gov. Charlie Baker’s first executive order, a Community Compact Cabinet that puts municipalities in closer contact with top officials in state government to create more effective working relationships and ensure the governor’s office works closely with local governments across the state.

“We’re looking for strong partnerships,” said Polito.

Polito also lauded the strides the city has made to promote economic growth. The city’s overall commercial vacancy rate dropped from 17 percent in 2013 to 14 percent in 2014, while the office vacancy rate declined from 24 percent in 2013 to 18 percent in 2014. Those numbers are due to city leaders’ efforts to forge relationships with prospective developers and business owners, said Polito.

“Marlborough has strong leadership,” she said. “We want to reward communities like Marlborough that exhibit best practices.”

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.