HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - It's a big week for road funding decisions in Alabama, as state officials prepare to divvy out valuable road dollars.
Officials with the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Project, better known as ATRIP, say they will release their list of road funding amounts by the end of this week. The seven-member committee will decide where roughly $300 million of federal funding will go, with the federal aid covering eighty percent of all costs.
"Most of the counties will not get all of the money they need to do all of their projects, and of course that's where Madison County is at," said Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville), who also serves as an ATRIP committee member. "We had so many projects that we didn't have money to be able to fund it."
Rep. McCutcheon said there were roughly $700 million worth of road funding requests from across the state of Alabama, easily more than double the amount of actual money available. McCutcheon told WHNT News 19 that the wide disparity led to an alternative plan that will likely lead to disappointment later this week, particularly in Madison County, where well over $100 million had been requested. McCutcheon said instead of going with individual road project winners, all money will now be handed out on a county-by-county basis, with local governments and officials having to negotiate among themselves over who gets what.
"We're gonna let the local governments sit down and say 'Okay, this is how much money that you have to spend. You make a determination as to what are your most important projects and put them in priority."
ATRIP officials said they expect to release the road funding amounts for every county by the end of the week. We're told the formula they will use is a combination of total population and economic development potential in each individual area.
"Of course on the committee I'm going to be supportive of Madison County and try to get every dollar that we can get up here out of the ATRIP dollars," said Rep. McCutcheon.
McCutcheon also said that the Huntsville-Madison County Metropolitan Planning Organization will be the group that doles out ATRIP dollars in Madison County. That body is comprised of a group of elected officials that include Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Madison Mayor Troy Trulock, along with Madison County Chairman Dale Strong.
ATRIP's action comes two months after the Alabama Department of Transportation announced it was postponing several road projects in Madison County due to unexpected revenue shortfalls.