The total cost of the downtown infrastructure improvements for the first Baltimore Grand Prix racing event came in more than $1.19 million under budget, according to city officials.
The 15-month project, which repaved nine lane miles downtown and near the stadiums, had a projected cost of $7.75 million, according to a news release from the mayor's office. In the end, the work cost $6.5 million, which came from state and federal transportation grants.
According to the city, the transportation department expects to repair a record 235 lane miles this year. So far in 2011, crews have finished 94 lane miles, compared to 84.52 lane miles last year, a nearly 12 percent increase. The Grand Prix repaving represents less than five percent of the repaving work already completed or planned for this year, according to the release.
Ryan O'Doherty, spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said that a number of contractors are beginning large repaving projects next week that will bring them to the 235-mile goal.
The funding came from about $5 million in federal highway aid from the Surface Transportation Program and $2.75 million under a grant repayment agreement based on Baltimore's share of state highway user revenue, he said.
This money can be used only for transportation and the federal money can be used only on major roadways, O'Doherty said.
"We can't spend these funds on repaving neighborhood side streets," the spokesman said.
But the mayor has increased funding for neighborhood street repair in this year's budget, and 90 percent of the resurfacing this year is taking place in neighborhoods, not downtown.
O'Doherty said that the work was completed in time for the race.
A race car driver expressed concern to a Baltimore Sun reporter that asphalt being laid Thursday might not sufficiently harden in time for the race. O'Doherty said this work was part of a separate contract between the Grand Prix organizers and the Maryland Transit Administration and the process had been tested earlier to ensure it met specifications.