BRADENTON, Fla. — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley Thursday selected 105 road and bridge improvement projects for the first round of funding in the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP.
The projects will cost $138.5 million and be funded through the first tranche of an upcoming issue of grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds. The Garvees are expected to be sold by the state in the late summer or early fall.
Bentley said the funding will mostly be used on roads and bridges that are over capacity or in need of safety improvements.
The projects he selected for financing range from rural to urban, and include resurfacing, additional lanes, intersection upgrades and 36 local bridge replacements.
“Companies depend on updated roads and bridges to help them safely conduct business and make deliveries,” the governor said. “As we improve our infrastructure, we will improve the business climate in the state and make Alabama more attractive to businesses seeking to locate here and bring additional jobs.”
Projects selected for ATRIP require a 20% funding match from the local government or a public-private partnership, with the remaining 80% provided by proceeds of the Garvee bonds.
The local sponsor is responsible for the costs of all surveys, designs, environmental analysis and right-of-way acquisition.
Single and multiple applications were submitted by cities and counties across the state, in 64 of 67 counties. Bentley approved ATRIP funding for at least one project that every eligible applicant submitted.
Five projects totaling $8.7 million were approved within Jefferson County, sponsored by the municipalities of Bessemer, Birmingham, Gardendale, Hoover and Trussville. Services, including road work, have been pared severely in Jefferson County, which filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in November. The state’s most populous county recently transferred money to the general fund to prevent a deficit at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, which will result in the second general obligation warrant payment default later this year.
The deficit is caused by the loss of a legislatively authorized occupational tax that was struck down by Alabama courts. Lawmakers earlier this year refused to authorize a replacement funding source.
Earlier this year, Bentley announced the development of the ATRIP and his intention to sell $600 million to $650 million of Garvees over three years. He said the bond market’s low-interest rate environment made it feasible to use the Garvee program to catch up on road and bridge repairs.
When he announced the first projects to be financed in the program last week, Bentley said the next rounds of funding are set for this fall and next spring.