More than 250 rural road and bridge projects scheduled - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

More than 250 rural road and bridge projects scheduled under new Bentley program

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

More than 250 new road and bridge improvement projects have been scheduled to move forward under the new Rural Assistance Match Program championed by Gov. Robert Bentley.

The Rural Assistance Match Program, or RAMP, allows rural areas that couldn't participate in the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP) due to a lack of funding the ability to access the money needed for essential road and bridge improvements.

DOCUMENT: READ FULL LIST OF RAMP PROJECTS HERE

Previously, 61 of 67 counties in Alabama received funding through ATRIP which was established by Gov. Bentley in 2012. With the additional RAMP funding all Alabama counties will now benefit from road and bridge improvements.

"Already, ATRIP is making a positive difference in communities across the state.  Now, thanks to RAMP funding, every single county in Alabama will have better roads," Governor Bentley said.  "I don't want school buses to have to go around bad bridges.  I don't want communities to be limited by outdated roads.  Improving our roads and bridges will improve public safety across the state and lead to more job creation.  As we improve roads and bridges in rural areas, we'll make those communities more attractive to companies that are looking for places to build and expand.  These companies need good infrastructure to transport their products; that's exactly what ATRIP is giving them."

ATRIP, funded through the use of GARVEE bonds, provides counties with funding needed for road and bridge improvements with a 20% matching requirement on the county's behalf. The RAMP initiative takes ATRIP one step farther by providing funding to the counties unable to meet the 20% matching requirement for bridges traversed by school bus traffic and therefore eligible for federal funds. If all eligible bridge replacement needs are fulfilled, local governments are then able to request funding for other road improvement projects deemed eligible to receive ATRIP funding.

Under RAMP, counties and cities are eligible to receive up to $1 million in state funds to match an additional $4 million in federal funds.  RAMP allows the Alabama Department of Transportation to sell bonds to provide the local match to participating counties and cities.  In addition to the $5 million total for RAMP, some counties are eligible for up to a total of $2 million in additional funding where the county must provide the required match instead of ALDOT.

Counties taking part in RAMP previously had no projects, or only limited projects, as part of ATRIP due to limited local funds.  In all, 22 counties are eligible to participate in RAMP based on current local funding needs.

RAMP was established by Senate Bill 192, which Governor Bentley signed into law in April.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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