ATRIP funding announced for neighbors

Published 4:54 pm Monday, July 30, 2012

Some neighboring counties of Escambia County were included in the latest round of funding for the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Monday that 34 additional, supplemental road and bridge projects that are now able to move forward as part of Round 1 of funding for ATRIP.

Escambia County had been awarded just over $2 million in ATRIP funding following an announcement by Bentley in May. Resurfacing of two roadways were included in the funding awarded including just over $514,000 to resurface South Presley Street in Atmore and approximately $1.9 million in funding to resurface and make corrective repairs on Atmosphere Road in the west end of the county.

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In the latest release of funds, Conecuh County will receive nearly $300,000 to replace a bridge over Murder Creek along County Road 30. Additional projects are also planned in Conecuh County with Covington County expected to make some improvements on roadways and bridges with awarded funds.

“With these additional projects, we are moving closer to our goal of improving the safety of roads and bridges throughout Alabama,” Bentley said.  “Many of our bridges are in desperate need of repair or replacement.  Many of our roads are outdated and cannot handle current demand.  Through ATRIP, we are able to make needed improvements to enhance public safety and quality of life in our communities.”

The first phase of Round 1 funding was announced in May.  The additional projects announced Monday by Bentley 30 bridge rehabilitation or replacement projects.  Additional road widening, resurfacing, and intersection improvement projects are also included.

The 34 additional projects are spread out over 17 counties. Throughout Round 1 of ATRIP funding, 61 of Alabama’s 67 counties have received funding for various transportation initiatives.  In all, 139 projects have been approved.  Also, all eligible bridge project applications received in Round 1 have now been approved.

“As ATRIP projects move forward, they will also serve as valuable economic development tools for the state,” Bentley said.  “When a company decides where to build a new facility and create jobs, that company looks for areas with modern, safe roads and bridges.  So as we improve roads and bridges, we are improving public safety while also making Alabama more attractive to companies that want to move here and create jobs.”

Funding for ATRIP comes through the use of GARVEE bonds.  With GARVEE bonds, Alabama is able to access future federal dollars now in order to pay for road and bridge projects that are needed immediately.

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.  GARVEE bonds also allow the state to make needed improvements without raising taxes.

Cities and counties across the state submit local project proposals for funding through ATRIP.  The applications are analyzed by ALDOT – the Alabama Department of Transportation.  Eligible projects are reviewed by an advisory committee, which, in conjunction with Governor Bentley, makes project-funding decisions.

“I am proud to work with Governor Bentley as we improve our roads,” said Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey.  “As a member of the ATRIP Advisory Committee and as chair of the Jobs Creation and Military Stability Commission, I believe this announcement will enhance our ability to strengthen job growth in this great state.”

At least two additional rounds of ATRIP funding will take place.  Projects not selected in Round 1 are eligible for submission in upcoming rounds of ATRIP funding.

“ALDOT, under the leadership of Governor Bentley, has taken on an aggressive transportation plan to build and improve Alabama’s infrastructure over the next three years,” said Representative Mac McCutcheon, who also serves on the ATRIP Advisory Committee.  “The State of Alabama understands the need to promote transportation projects in order to improve public safety and infrastructure, which is necessary for economic growth and the creation of business and jobs.”

“The Governor and the Legislature are focused on job recruitment, retention, and renewal.  One of the key components of that is quality infrastructure,” added State Senator Paul Bussman, also of the ATRIP Advisory Committee.  “Improving our roads and bridges will help get products to markets and to industries.  Having a quality infrastructure in the state is instrumental in job creation.”

ATRIP road and bridge projects require a 20 percent funding match provided by either the local government or through a local public-private partnership, with the remaining 80 percent provided by GARVEE bonds.