Chambers County Applies for Transportation Grant
LaFAYETTE — The Chambers County Commission unanimously passed its 2019-2020 budget Monday with a $232,370 surplus.
The commission will work off a budget with $31,188,090 in revenues and $30,955,720 in expenditure.
The county’s general fund is budgeted for $6,667,423, public safety has a budget of $1,281,665 and the county has a budget of $2,661,811 for economic development.
The budget is due to the state by Oct. 1.
“I would like to thank Ms. Chambers for the work she put into this,” Commissioner Chairman David Eastridge said. “This is always a long, drawn out time.”
Also, on Monday, the commission approved the engineering department to complete and submit an application to the state for the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program-II.
County Engineer Josh Harvill said the application would be for improvements to the intersection off exit 70 on Interstate 85 and the corridors of County Road 388 and 177. The grant program, also known as ATRIP-II, is a grant through the Alabama Department of Transportation for projects created in the Rebuild Alabama Act.
According to the ALDOT website, transportation projects that are related to the highway systems are eligible to apply.
Harvill said the commission has already invested about $20,000 on a traffic study which revealed needed improvements of the entrance and exit ramps, as well as widening the roads due to increased development near the industrial park.
“Based on that study, we are making this recommendation and application,” Harvill said.
He said the grant application is capped at about $2 million and the county is applying for about $1.75 million. Also, as a means to stay competitive, Harvill got the green light to tell the state it would be willing to commit matching funds up to 20 percent, if needed.
Harvill said there’s no guarantee the state will choose Chamber County’s projects as it is competing with all counties and municipalities in the state.
Either way, he said the truck traffic is getting heavy near the industrial park by exit 70 and the transportation infrastructure hasn’t grown as fast as development has occurred.
“There aren’t any safety issues at the moment,” Harvill said. “There is some congestion that is beginning to show, and we are suggesting for a way to relieve that congestion.”
He said the Chambers County Development wants to continue to grow the affected area, and the county needs to be prepared for such development.
Harvill said there are $30 million available statewide through the project, and it could go up to $50 million through Rebuild Alabama.
– Article by Dustin Duncan | The Times-News