County to receive more road funds
Franklin County will benefit from Gov. Robert Bentley’s announcement on Monday that 302 additional road and bridge projects had been approved through the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP), which is the largest road and bridge improvement program in the history of Alabama.
Four projects were approved during this announcement including projects for the cities of Red Bay, Hodges and Russellville as well as the county itself.
In Red Bay, $625,248 in ATRIP funds was allocated to help with the resurfacing of Golden Road from Alabama 24 to the Mississippi state line as well as a bridge culvert replacement on the same road. A local match of $120,897 will be required in order to complete the project.
The town of Hodges received $162,696, with a local match of $40,674, to add turn and deceleration lanes at the entrance of the Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park.
The city of Russellville will use the $180,000 they were awarded to resurface Madison Street and make intersection improvements at U.S. 43 and Lagrange Street, while also providing a $45,000 local match.
County Engineer David Palmer said the $483,591 the county received, which also requires a local match of $128,897, would be used to replace the bridge that crosses Mack Branch on Franklin 22 and for some resurfacing work.
“The bridge that currently crosses Mack Branch is the only structure on that 7.2-mile road that is weight limited,” Palmer said. “This means that a school bus isn’t able to drive over it, which is inconvenient since this road connects U.S. 43 to Alabama 187.
“This was a high priority item for us to repair so busses can cross this road freely and without the ATRIP funds it wouldn’t have been possible at this time.”
Now that these 302 road and bridge projects have been approved statewide, that brings the total of number of projects that have been announced to 439 since Bentley formally unveiled the ATRIP initiative in March of 2012.
“Everyone benefits from ATRIP,” Bentley said. “We’re improving public safety by replacing old bridges and repairing and widening outdated roads.
“ATRIP also helps create jobs. When companies build new facilities, they look for areas with good roads and bridges. ATRIP is giving them what they need. The more companies that build and expand in Alabama, the more jobs we’re able to create.”
ATRIP road and bridge projects require local matching funds of 20 percent provided by either the local government or through a local public-private partnership, with the remaining 80 percent provided through the Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles Bond Program (GARVEE).
With GARVEE bonds, Alabama is able to access future federal dollars to pay for road and bridge projects that are needed immediately.
Bentley’s office said with interest rates on municipal bonds at historic lows, the use of GARVEE bonds makes strong financial sense as the low cost of borrowing is generally lower than the rising cost of inflation on construction projects.
Officials said additionally that GARVEE bonds allow the state to make needed improvements without raising taxes.
“As a member of the ATRIP Advisory Committee, it’s gratifying to see counties and cities working together to promote progress and improve roads and bridges,” Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey said.
“Under Gov. Bentley’s leadership, the approval of funding for this recent round of projects plays a vital role in the long-term economic impact of local communities and the state.”
“School buses shouldn’t have to detour around bad bridges, and communities shouldn’t be limited in economic development by outdated roads,” added Sen. Paul Bussman, who is also on the ATRIP Advisory Committee.
“That’s why ATRIP is so beneficial. This program gives our communities the roads and bridges they need to address these concerns and improve the quality of life.”
The governor’s office said at least one additional round of ATRIP funding is scheduled at this time.
Eligible projects not selected in previous funding rounds are once again eligible to be submitted. The deadline for submitting applications for the next round of funding is May 31.