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Bill could improve roads

Local officials have their eyes on a proposed economic stimulus bill that, if passed, could improve road conditions in Pike County.

Though nothing is official yet, Alabama U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, held a meeting last week telling state officials to be prepared to make bids on projects that could qualify for state funding.

“We’re already putting together some things ready to go to bid in the event that it is passed,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

If the $500 to $600 billion stimulus bill is approved, money will go directly to states, where governors and transportation officials will oversee it, reported the Birmingham News.

Not too many details are known about the package at this time, but Davis said in his meeting money will go toward infrastructure improvements, creating jobs and invigorating the economy in general.

Lunsford said Troy has several projects they are looking to get funding for, but the biggest will include major road resurfacing.

“We have a lot of needs right now,” Lunsford said. “We’re looking at a major resurfacing project.”

Lunsford said roads were evaluated by engineers about three years ago for resurfacing needs, and that list will be updated to determine what else should be included.

Other possible projects, he said, may include painting water tanks and making improvements on sewers.

Lunsford said he isn’t certain how much money these projects will be, but he said he anticipates the total exceeding $1.5 million.

And Troy’s not the only one looking for a piece of the pie.

Brundidge City Manager Britt Thomas said he isn’t sure what types of work the city will seek funding to complete, but he is certain they will have some things to bid.

“We’re going to try to be as best prepared as we can,” Thomas said. “We’re evaluating right now the things it looks like they’re going to provide the money for.”

Thomas said water towers and the Waste Water Treatment Plant are in good shape, but Brundidge, too, has resurfacing needs to be met.

And, they may try to seek funds for the library renovation if it meets the stimulus requirements.

Pike County Administrator Harry Sanders said the commission would also like to apply for project money, but he isn’t sure what improvements fall into the requirements.

“We are interested in it of course, but we’re interested in seeing details of the package they’re proposing,” Sanders said.

County Engineer Russell Oliver said he isn’t sure how much of the local money will be able to receive any of the funds, but he has compiled a list of road and bridge repair needs to bid just in case.

“We’ve been asked by the Association of County Commissions of Alabama to get together a list of projects that could be let within 120 days,” Oliver said. “We’re hoping the cities and counties around the country will get some money directly.”

No timeframe has been placed on when the stimulus bill may be up for approval, but it will be after President Elect Barack Obama is inaugurated Jan. 20.