For Immediate Release - January 20, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Road Improvement Grant For Ashburnham

MassDOT STRAP Grants Improve Public Safety; Support Economic Development in Small Towns

ASHBURNHAM - Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - As part of Governor Deval Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, the Patrick-Murray Administration has given formal approval to a Small Town Road Assistance Program (STRAP) grant for a road improvement project in Ashburnham. The $500,000 grant will fund paving and reclamation of 2.5 miles of Rindge Turnpike Road to address poor pavement and roadway flooding conditions.

"We are committed to strengthening our towns and providing them with the tools they need to thrive," said Governor Patrick. "Reinforcing their infrastructure through projects such as this improves public safety while also sparking economic development."

The STRAP grants of up to $500,000 each support the program's mandate to provide funding for road reconstruction projects that have been designed to improve public safety and promote economic development in smaller communities. The grants were approved following a competitive application process through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

"MassDOT is pleased to approve these STRAP grants as part of our focus on investing in transportation infrastructure in a way that makes critical improvements while promoting economic development in communities large and small in every region of the Commonwealth," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan.

"Ashburnham officials have worked tirelessly to ensure that the application was competitive and I am thrilled Governor Patrick has recognized its merits," said Senator Stephen Brewer. "The Chapter 90 funding received by municipalities each year for road improvements would not even begin to cover the major expense for this type of project and I applaud the town for pursuing this grant."

"I am so pleased to hear that Ashburnham is being recognized by the Commonwealth with these funds. With this money, the Central Massachusetts community takes another step toward economic recovery in these difficult times. I wish to congratulate both local officials and the Patrick Administration for their ongoing hard work in bringing this money to our district," said Representative Robert L. Rice, Jr.

Other grants were awarded to projects in Avon, Becket, Monroe and New Marlborough. The 2008 transportation bond bill signed by Governor Patrick expanded the number of communities eligible for STRAP grants by raising the population threshold from 3,500 to 7,000. Prior to the latest five awards, a total of 16 STRAP grants were awarded since 2002. Additional grant awards are expected in FY2011.

"MassDOT's Highway Division is focusing resources on projects throughout the Commonwealth that enhance safe travel," said Division Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky. "STRAP grants address this important priority in our smaller communities."

For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website at www.mass.gov/massdot, the MassDOT blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.

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