By Dave Stafford, Herald Bulletin staff writer
ANDERSON — Madison County officials expect about $5 million in federal stimulus money to resurface miles of roads by the end of the summer construction season.
As county revenue has declined, so has the ability to maintain roads. Money from President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic recovery plan will help fill the gap.
“This is an opportunity for us to do a little catch-up work,” said Madison County Commissioner Paul Wilson. “We fully intend to take advantage of it.”
The funds are not among planned projects that will directly receive stimulus dollars. Madison County received no stimulus funding for planned projects, according to an Associated Press story Tuesday.
Money coming to the county through the stimulus package will be funneled through local and state transportation agencies.
The lion’s share of money -- $3.2 million -- will be administered through the Madison County Council of Governments. Executive Director Jerry Bridges said the council’s policy board will meet Thursday to amend the county’s Transportation Improvement Program. “We just asked jurisdictions that might be eligible for funding to submit projects to us,” Bridges said. Decisions on which projects will be done will come later.
Bridges said projects that get funded will be those that can be started quickly. “Primarily what most of the stimulus money can be used for is resurfacing.
“You couldn’t start a project from scratch for a new road ... The funds can only be used for construction,” Bridges said.
While the Council of Governments begins prioritizing how best to spend money for road work, County Engineer Charles Leser said three projects to resurface about 10 miles of county roads await final approval.
Portions of old Indiana 132, Eighth Street and County Road 100 East are in line for $1.8 million from stimulus funds administered through the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Leser said final approval on those jobs should come later this month. Bids could be solicited in July and contracts awarded in August.
“These won’t take very long because that’s what we’re planning on,” Leser said.
“The push was to get things moving so it will create jobs and also to improve the infrastructure,” Wilson said.
While county officials are confident that funding for those jobs will meet federal stimulus criteria and be available soon, they also hope other projects might be funded.
Leser said INDOT is reviewing three more county road resurfacing projects, but has not yet approved them. They are:
-- 1100 North from 750W to 200W, about 5.5 miles.
-- 1100 North from 100E to 500E, about. 4 miles.
-- 600 West from 400N to Indiana 128, about 4 miles.
“I still hope that we get funding for those projects,” said Commissioner John Richwine. “I think there’s a pretty good opportunity to get that.”
“We are vastly underfunded for what it takes to maintain 916 miles of road,” Richwine said. “We need everything we can get to maintain the infrastructure we have.”
Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250, firstname.lastname@example.org
Road work ahead
Here is a breakdown of federal stimulus money that county officials anticipate for road resurfacing in the coming months:
$1.8 million: For projects that have been approved by the Indiana Department of Transportation and await final federal approval. Resurfacing projects include:
-- Old Indiana 132 from Interstate 69 to Indiana 13, about five miles.
-- Eighth Street in Anderson from Indiana 13 to County Road 600 West, about four miles.
-- County Road 100 East from 600 South to U.S. 36, about one mile, connecting to another resurfacing project.
$3.2 million: For projects that will be administered by the Madison County Council of Governments. The policy board meets Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Commissioner’s Court of the Madison County Government Center to list projects in the Anderson Metropolitan Planning Organization that could be funded with stimulus money. Decisions on which projects will be funded could be made in June. The Anderson MPO generally includes parts of Alexandria and extends south to Anderson, Chesterfield, Daleville, Pendleton, Ingalls, Fortville and the surrounding unincorporated areas.