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ATRIP speeds up road projects, many roads still in need of repairs

Butler County officials are urging citizens to look at the Alabama Transportation and Rehabilitation Investment Program (ATRIP) as an example of how local road and bridge investments can benefit the entire state.

ATRIP was introduced in 2012 as an infrastructure initiative aimed at investing more than $1 billion into Alabama’s local roads and bridges. As a result of ATRIP’s investment plan, many counties will complete 15 to 20 years of road and bridge projects in a three to four year period.

“We will complete 11 additional infrastructure projects in Butler County because of ATRIP. There is no way these projects could have been done without this program,” said Darrell Sanders, Butler County Commission chairman. “Although this program has been a blessing to Butler County, the majority of our roads are still in need of repairs that we must perform without the additional funding from the state”.

The accelerated ATRIP investment into local infrastructure helped all of Alabama’s 67 counties address critical needs by giving them the resources to rehabilitate, preserve, and improve roads and bridges on county systems — improvements that would otherwise not be possible.
One such example in Butler County is County Road 50, said County Engineer Dennis McCall.

Earlier this year, ATRIP invested nearly $1.3 million, 20 percent of which was funded by the county, to resurface a section of County Road 50. The project benefitted more than 55 homes, two churches, and one business located on the road, not to mention the benefit to the surrounding communities of Greenville, Midway and Mashville. The project also improved access to 1,008 acres of timberland and 2,056 acres of farmland — with combined property values exceeding $5.5 million. Additionally, the project improved transportation to two Tier 1 Hyundai suppliers in Butler County from three suppliers in neighboring Crenshaw County. This project’s 8.96 miles of road improvements have aided Butler County in addressing problems that could not be funded with current revenue streams.

While the program has been beneficial to the citizens who utilize the routes receiving ATRIP funds, county leaders expect other communities in Butler County will have to go without such improvements due to budget shortfalls.

According to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA), most counties are facing this same issue.

“For years, we’ve had to piecemeal together funding packages to help counties keep their heads above water with basic road and bridge maintenance. In order to truly meet Alabama’s 21st century mobility needs, we will have to identify a sustainable revenue source for local infrastructure programs,” said Sonny Brasfield, ACCA executive director.

McCall said Butler County has joined a statewide coalition of county engineers, county commissioners, community leaders, and citizens known as DRIVE Alabama (Developing a Road and Infrastructure Vision for Everyone in Alabama) in hopes of bringing more statewide attention to the limited funding available to support Alabama’s growing infrastructure needs.

“With our current financial resources almost exclusively going to maintenance activities, Butler County is situated like most Alabama counties,” said McCall. “The amount of money needed to improve and preserve the county’s road and bridge network is 265 percent higher than what is currently available to perform basic maintenance. We simply don’t have the resources to complete all the infrastructure work that needs to be done.”

To learn more about DRIVE Alabama, visit drivealabama.org.