MONTGOMERY – Governor Robert Bentley announced on Monday that more than 250 road and bridge improvement projects will now be able to move forward in rural counties thanks to the Rural Assistance Match Program (RAMP).
RAMP allows additional counties to take part in Bentley’s statewide road improvement initiative, called the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).
Previously, 61 of 67 counties had received ATRIP funding. With the new projects announced on Monday, all 67 Alabama counties have now received ATRIP projects since the program was established by Governor Bentley in 2012.
“Already, ATRIP is making a positive difference in communities across the state. Now, thanks to RAMP funding, every single county in Alabama will have better roads,” Bentley said. “I don’t want school buses to have to go around bad bridges. I don’t want communities to be limited by outdated roads. Improving our roads and bridges will improve public safety across the state and lead to more job creation. As we improve roads and bridges in rural areas, we’ll make those communities more attractive to companies that are looking for places to build and expand. These companies need good infrastructure to transport their products; that’s exactly what ATRIP is giving them.”
ATRIP was established by Bentley to help local areas access funding needed for essential road and bridge improvements. The RAMP initiative is available to counties that are unable to meet the 20 percent local funding match required to participate in ATRIP. To compliment ATRIP, RAMP was established by Senate Bill 192, which Governor Bentley signed into law in April.
“Now, every county in Alabama has the opportunity to participate in ATRIP, thanks to a collaborative effort by the ATRIP Advisory Committee, Governor Bentley, and ALDOT,” said Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, a member of the ATRIP Advisory Board. “Some of Alabama’s counties, particularly in rural areas, needed more leverage to jump-start infrastructure improvements in their communities. Everyone worked together to develop and implement a solution. RAMP is a valuable complement to the ATRIP program. It means more to these communities than road repaving and bridge repairs; it improves safety and creates an economic impact that will benefit rural counties and cities for years to come.”
Counties taking part in RAMP previously had no projects, or only limited projects, as part of ATRIP due to limited local funds. In all, 22 counties are eligible to participate in RAMP based on current local funding needs. All 22 of those counties have projects in the list announced by Governor Bentley on Monday. With Monday’s announcement of 254 RAMP projects, the total number of road and bridge improvements announced under ATRIP so far is 693.
Funding for ATRIP projects comes from the use of GARVEE bonds. GARVEE bonds allow the state to access future federal dollars for transportation projects that are needed immediately. The use of GARVEE bonds makes strong financial sense as the low cost of borrowing is generally lower than the rising cost of inflation on construction projects. GARVEE bonds also allow the state to make needed improvements without raising taxes. In December, the State of Alabama closed on the initial round of GARVEE bonds, selling at an all-time low, fixed interest rate of 2.26% over the 14-year life of the bonds.