County stimulus money some help

Published 9:20 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Pike County Road Department’s portion of federal economic stimulus money will make a dent in local needs, but it just won’t be a big one.

With $265,000 coming Pike County’s way, County Engineer Russell Oliver said three local roads will soon be resurfaced.

But, he also said the needs stretch further than just those three roads.

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“In addition to the three projects which we already had in the works, we initiated an additional eight resurfacing projects and six bridge replacements,” Oliver said. “We were hoping we’d get enough stimulus money to do some of those, but as it turns out, we didn’t get enough to fully fund the three projects.”

The money from the stimulus package, in fact, doesn’t even reach one-third of the total $900,000 project’s cost. But, Oliver said in times when the road department faces severe shortfalls in its budget, any amount will surely cut out-of-pocket costs.

The paving of County Roads 7755, 2276 and 3327 will be funded three fold — with stimulus money, a state grant and the selling of equipment.

The stimulus funds, essentially, will be less money Pike County has to pay out of pocket to be eligible for the $500,000 grant that has to be matched by 20 percent.

“We’re having to sell equipment to get our match money to match federal aid funds, so now that we are able to use the stimulus money in conjunction with our federal aid, we won’t have to come up with as much to match,” Oliver said.

The three-road resurfacing project is one Oliver said has been in the works even before he became county engineer last year.

The projects are slated to begin this summer, two months after the state releases funds in May.

Oliver said these roads qualified for the grant because they meet traffic flow requirements by the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the resurfacing will serve residents well.