HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-A list of recommendations released by transportation officials on Thursday is being hailed as a grand slam for road funding in Madison County.
The Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, better known as ATRIP, recommended $54 million of federal road money at a committee meeting in Huntsville Thursday. That's more than double the amount any other county received in the state of Alabama for ATRIP's third round of project aid, and local officials say it couldn't come at a better time.
"I think Madison County was recognized today," said State Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville), who also serves as an ATRIP committee member. "With this proposal being sent to the governor, we look forward to working with the governor's office and the Department of Transportation in getting the money we deserve up here in Madison County."
The gigantic windfall still requires the signature of Gov. Robert Bentley (R), which could happen as early as next week.
All three rounds of ATRIP funding would give Madison County just over $86 million of the nearly $1 billion in federal road aid available, a total that outpaced Jefferson, Mobile and Tuscaloosa counties by well over $30 million.
State Highway Director and ATRIP Committee Chair John Cooper said Thursday's list of recommendations is a recoginition of Madison County's growing clout.
"What the committee concluded was that the $54 million, which was up from an initial $50 million recommendation, reflected Madison's unique position in the state...In Madison County, the governor is particularly focused on economic development, and wants to see the money spent for economic development projects. Projects that will foster jobs and economic growth."
Where the $54 million will be spent in Madison County is still to be determined. Officials said once the money is officially approved, a special commitee that consists of Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison Mayor Troy Trulock and Madison County Chairman Dale Strong will meet with ALDOT to prioritize a list of projects.
Under ATRIP rules, federal bonds cover eighty percent of all project costs, with local governments putting up the remaining twenty percent.