RAMP could provide money for bridge repairs

Published 5:38 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Gov. Robert Bentley signed the Rural Assistance Match Program (RAMP) bill that will bring $5 million for repairs to bridges throughout Chilton County.

Senate Bill 192 established the RAMP program that would be available to counties that were unable to meet the 20 percent local funding match required to participate in ATRIP, the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program.

Bentley established ATRIP in 2012 to help local areas access funding needed for essential road and bridge improvements.

“ATRIP is improving public safety by replacing old bridges and repairing and widening outdated roads,” Bentley said in a release. “Better roads and bridges help a community attract new jobs. When companies look for places to build and expand, they look for good infrastructure. So while ATRIP is improving public safety, it is also helping improve Alabama’s economy.”

Bentley added that some counties were not able to participate because of limited funding.

“Thanks to legislation, those counties now have the resources available to participate in ATRIP and receive much-needed improvements.”

Under RAMP, counties and cities that are unable to meet the 20 percent local funding match required to leverage federal ATRIP funds are now eligible to receive up to $1 million in state funds to match an additional $4 million in federal funds. RAMP allows the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to sell bonds to provide the local match to participating counties and cities.

Since Bentley formally unveiled his ATRIP initiative, 439 road and bridge projects have been announced. To date, 61 of Alabama’s 67 counties have received ATRIP funding for various road and bridge projects.

With the RAMP program, all counties are now eligible to receive ATRIP funding.

The six counties that have not received ATRIP projects so far are Fayette, Hale, Lawrence, Marengo, Wilcox and Winston.

Other counties that have received limited ATRIP funding and are also eligible for RAMP assistance are Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Lowndes, Marion, Perry, Pickens and Randolph.

In all, 22 counties are eligible to participate in RAMP based on current local funding needs.