A smoother drive is in the future for Wiregrass county roads.
Wednesday Alabama Governor Robert Bentley put pen to paper, giving much needed help for the back roads in the Wiregrass.
The Dale and Henry County roads road are soon to see $5 million worth of improvements. It is all part of the largest road and bridge improvement program in Alabama’s history.
It is all part of the Rural Assistance Match Program or RAMP.
Henry Co. Probate Judge/ Commission Chair David Money said, “It is going to mean a lot to 22 counties who by and large did not have the necessary funds to provide the 20 percent match to the state and federal A-TRIP funds.”
That’s the federally funded road and bridge program. Twenty percent would blow Dale and Henry County’s road work budgets.
“Some counties use property tax to help fund road repairs but for Dale County 90 percent of their road repair budget comes from gas tax revenue.
Dale Co. Engineer Derek Brewer said, “Gasoline taxes are dwindling. The more mileage a vehicle gets the less gasoline they consume. And the less gasoline they consume the less revenue we have in our department.”
And with gasoline prices climbing, that is also bad news for Henry County’s road budget.
David Money said, “Well it is so much tax per gallon. And the higher gas is the less number of gallons they use and when they do that then our funds are down.”
The depleted funds had engineers going a cheaper route fixing up the county roads.
Brewer said, “Like putting shingles on a house. It’s nothing glamorous it’s just something you have to do to buy you some time until something better and bigger comes along. And that is what this program is. It is a bigger and better program that we can improve our roads with.”
There are eight roads in Dale County and four in Henry set to reap the RAMP benefits.
“We will have completely resurfaced highways from the Houston County line all the way to Lake Eufaula.”
Here are the roads that will potentially be updated in Dale County:
1. Old Highway 134 (Co. Rd 114)
2. Faust Avenue
3. S. Co. Rd 59
4. W. Roy Parker Road
5. Co. Rd 1
6. Co. Rd 69
7. S. Co. Rd 67
8. Co. Rd 15
In Henry County, the projects proposed involve portions of:
1. Co. Rd 99
2. Co. Rd 237
3. Co. Rd 26 and Co. Rd 65
4. Co. Rd 99