Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday announced more than $372 million in additional funding for cities and counties participating in the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP). ATRIP is the largest road and bridge improvement program in Alabama's history.
"ATRIP is making a difference in every county across the state by allowing much-needed road and bridge improvement projects to move forward," Governor 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."
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.
Funding for ATRIP projects comes primarily from the use of GARVEE bonds. With GARVEE bonds, Alabama is able to access future federal dollars to pay for road and bridge projects that are needed immediately. The use of GARVEE bonds makes strong financial sense because 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. GARVEE bonds provide 80 percent of ATRIP project funding. Local governments or local public-private partnerships provide the remaining 20 percent funding match.
ATRIP was established by Governor Bentley in 2012 to help local areas access funding for necessary road and bridge improvements. For counties that were unable to meet the 20 percent local funding matches required, a companion program called RAMP was developed earlier this year. RAMP, the Rural Assistance Match Program, ensured that all 67 Alabama counties would benefit from road and bridge improvements under ATRIP. All RAMP funding was announced in May.
Between ATRIP and RAMP, nearly $1 billion is being made available to municipalities for much-needed road and bridge improvements. Wednesday's Phase III funding announcement represents the culmination of ATRIP funding and will be the final round of allocations. Once local matching funds are factored in, Phase III will be the largest funding allocation of the program.
As part of the program, an ATRIP Advisory Committee reviews eligible projects submitted by cities and counties across the state. The committee, in conjunction with Governor Bentley, makes funding decisions. The committee includes ALDOT Director John Cooper, Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, Senator Paul Bussman, Representative Mac McCutcheon, Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham Executive Director Charles Ball, and retired county engineer Herb Huner.
"Under the leadership and vision of Governor Bentley, ATRIP has provided the most comprehensive and significant improvements to highway infrastructure in our state to date," Lt. Gov. Ivey said. "I am encouraged that every county will benefit from this program. ATRIP has energized and empowered county and city leadership to work together and create progressive, long-lasting change throughout the state. I am proud to serve on the ATRIP Advisory Committee."
"The Governor's vision to improve and upgrade the transportation infrastructure in Alabama through ATRIP has been remarkable," Senator Bussman (R-Cullman) said. "And the Legislature's passage of the RAMP program simply completed a tremendous initiative. Everyone in Alabama will benefit from these exciting programs: school children on buses, farmers getting their product to market, industrial access/development, counties/cities as well as the general public daily traveling from place to place."
"The ATRIP Committee has worked to administer the most aggressive transportation improvement plan in Alabama's history," Representative McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) said. "Under the leadership of Governor Bentley and ALDOT, the committee has taken steps to address needs in every county in Alabama. ATRIP is improving infrastructure for economic growth, providing jobs and promoting safety."
INFORMATION SOURCE: Governor Bentley's Press Office
1720 Valley View Drive