$5 million in grants finalized for bridge projectsBy Emily Etheredge Published 3:51pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Eight bridges have been approved to move forward with improvement projects in Chilton County under the Rural Assistance Match Program (RAMP).
Gov. Robert Bentley announced on Monday more than 250 road and bridge improvement projects throughout Alabama will now be able to receive the improvements under the RAMP program.
RAMP allows additional counties to take part in Bentley’s statewide road improvement initiative, called the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).
Previously, 61 of 67 counties had received ATRIP funding and with the new projects announced on Monday, all 67 Alabama counties have now received ATRIP projects since Bentley established the program in 2012.
“Already, ATRIP is making a positive difference in communities across the state,” Bentley said in a release. “Now, thanks to RAMP funding, every single county in Alabama will have better roads. I don’t want school buses to have to go around bad bridges. I don’t want communities to be limited by outdated roads.”
Bentley said improving roads and bridges would improve public safety across the state and lead to more job creation.
“As we improve roads and bridges in rural areas, we’ll make those communities more attractive to companies that are looking for places to build and expand,” Bentley said in a release. “These companies need good infrastructure to transport their products and that is exactly what ATRIP is giving them.”
ATRIP was established by Bentley to help local areas access funding needed for essential road and bridge improvements. The RAMP initiative is available to counties that are unable to meet the 20-percent local funding match required to participate in ATRIP. To complement ATRIP, RAMP was established by Senate Bill 192, which Bentley signed into law in April.
The first priority for funding in each RAMP county is the replacement of county bridges posted for school bus traffic and eligible for federal funds. If all eligible bridge replacement needs are fulfilled, local governments are then able to request funding for other road improvement projects deemed eligible to receive ATRIP funding.
Chilton County engineer Tony Wearren said on Wednesday that all projects to be considered for RAMP were due Dec. 9, 2012.