|Huntsville Priorities for ATRIP Funding Shift as City Seeks to Restore Road Projects
Mayor Battle's 'Restore Our Roads' campaign highlights delayed projects on South Memorial Parkway
July 30, 2013
(Huntsville, AL) - Huntsville city leaders continue to grapple with funding options as they work to restore more than 15 essential road projects for the Huntsville metro area. The projects, totaling about $450 million, have been deferred up to 10 years by the Alabama Department of Transportation.
"There is no waiting 10 years for these road improvements," said Mayor Tommy Battle. "It's a predictable crisis. Some of the roads may be okay today, but they won't be in 10 years and that is the time it would take to complete these projects if we started now."
Speaking at the site of one of delayed projects on South Memorial Parkway, a proposed six-lane expansion from Hobbs Island Road to the Tennessee River bridge, Mayor Battle said the shifting road funds are creating havoc with the metro area's long range transportation plans. This means Huntsville leaders must rethink priorities.
"No matter where you live in Madison County, the two most important roads that impact every citizen are Memorial Parkway and I-565," said Battle. "Without these roads, the other major arterials don't work. It may be appropriate for the City to ask the MPO to shift our portion of the recent ATRIP road funding to these primary corridors.
The City had planned on asking the MPO to direct its share of the State's recent $50 million allocation for Madison County road work (via ATRIP - Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program) toward widening Zierdt Road and Martin Road. Now the City may request that those resources be spent on overpasses for Memorial Parkway.
"Like our partners on the Madison County Commission and in the City of Madison, we will have to use these ATRIP funds on the roads that affect the most heavily trafficked areas and for us that priority is North and South Memorial Parkway," said Mayor Battle. "We want our citizens to be aware of the difficult choices we are making, and we pledge to you that we will put your tax dollars to good use."
The Metropolitan Planning Organization, which manages ATRIP funding for the Huntsville area, has been targeting highly congested roadways such as Zierdt Road, Martin Road and Winchester Road. Comprised of representatives from Huntsville, Madison, Madison County, Owens Cross Roads, Triana, the Top of Alabama Regional Council on Governments (TARCOG) and ALDOT, the MPO will look at projects where they can get the most bang for their buck. While 80 percent of ATRIP funding is covered by federal bonds, 20 percent of the cost must be provided by local governments or public-private partnerships.
"We are extremely grateful for these ATRIP funds, however, we are still facing a long list of roads needing immediate attention," said Shane Davis, Director of Urban Development. Davis says the 15 deferred projects and the MPO's initial wish list for the ATRIP funds also do not address mounting pressures to alleviate bumper to bumper traffic on Research Park Boulevard, Highway 72 West, Cecil Ashburn Drive, I-565, and U.S. 231 Memorial Parkway.
"This is a challenge that impacts the entire Huntsville metro community," said Battle. "We can't ignore these infrastructure needs and we stand ready and willing to pay our fair share to ensure our priority roads meet the needs of Huntsville. We pledge to continue working together as a regional team with Governor Bentley, ALDOT, and our legislative delegation to come up with a viable plan to begin work on our most critical roadways."
Additional Information: Restore Our Roads Map
For more information, contact:
Kelly Cooper Schrimsher, Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor, City of Huntsville, 256-427-5006 (w), firstname.lastname@example.org
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