County awarded $4.5 million in ATRIP funds

Published 2:31 pm Friday, July 26, 2013

Roadwork across Butler County got a significant boost Wednesday.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced that Butler County, along with Greenville and Georgiana, has been allocated nearly $4.5 million in the third and final phase of the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

During all three phases of the program, more than $10.3 million has been allocated for projects within the county.

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Butler County Engineer Dennis McCall said he expects to receive a list of projects that are eligible for the Phase III funding soon, and that the Butler County Commission would then determine how to distribute the money.

Only certain roads and bridges qualify for the funding, and city and county governments must provide a 20 percent match for approved projects. Funding for ATRIP comes through the use of Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles Bonds (GARVEE). Through the use of GARVEE bonds, Alabama is able to access future federal dollars now in order to pay for road and bridge projects that are needed immediately.

“ATRIP will drastically extend the life or our major collector road system,” McCall said. “This represents approximately 20 years of federal funding coming into Butler County.”

However, McCall pointed out that major collectors, or roadways that serve at least 500 vehicles a day, account for only 30 percent of the county’s road system.

“We still have the challenge of maintaining our minor collectors and local roads in a reasonably safe condition,” McCall said.

In the previous rounds of ATRIP, Butler County was awarded funds for the resurfacing of County Road 50 from Alabama Hwy. 10 East to the Crenshaw County line, County Road 45 and County Road 59 from U.S. Hwy. 31 to Pigeon Creek, County Road 45 from Hwy. 106 to County Road 59, and for improvements to a bridge on County Road 53 that spans a tributary of Patsaliga Creek.

The City of Greenville was also awarded funds to resurface Conecuh Street from Hwy. 10 to U.S. Hwy. 31 in Greenville.

Before Wednesday’s announcement, 693 road and bridge improvement projects had already been approved under previous phases of ATRIP funding.  Wednesday’s Phase III funding announcement will now pave the way for additional projects in all 45 counties receiving Phase III allocations.

“ATRIP is making a difference in every county across the state by allowing much-needed road and bridge improvement projects to move forward,” Bentley said. “As we make these improvements, we’re improving public safety, and we’re also helping attract more jobs. When companies look for places to build and expand and hire more people, they look for places that have good roads and bridges. Our roads and bridges will be much safer thanks to this program, and our communities will be in a better position to recruit more jobs.”

ATRIP is the largest road and bridge improvement program in Alabama’s history, had administered nearly all of a $1 billion bond over the three rounds, which started in May of 2012.