Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday released new details on his efforts to improve the safety of Alabama's roads and bridges.
The Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program -- or "ATRIP" -- is the name that has been given to the Governor's plan to use low-interest-rate bonds to upgrade the state's infrastructure.
This week, Governor Bentley appointed an advisory committee that will review and prioritize improvement projects for ATRIP.
"We have an aggressive timeline, and we will work quickly and efficiently to identify the roads and bridges that most urgently need to be repaired," Governor Bentley said.
Across the state, local governments and public/private partnerships have been asked to submit requests for project funding. Initial requests are due March 31. Final projects will be chosen by Governor Bentley after review by the advisory committee.
"The first set of ATRIP applications will be due at the end of this month, so we can begin right away to make sure our roads are safe for the people of this state," Governor Bentley said. "This will also help us continue to recruit new jobs statewide by providing an infrastructure that meets the demands of various industries."
ATRIP Advisory Committee members include the following:
* John Cooper, Alabama Transportation Director -- Committee Chairman
* Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey (or her designee)
* Representative Mac McCutcheon of Huntsville (Designated by House Speaker Mike Hubbard)
* Senator Paul Bussman of Cullman (Designated by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh)
* Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan (or his designee)
* Henry Hawkins -- Retired county road engineer (Chambers County)
* Herb Huner -- Retired county road engineer (Pike County)
Through the use of GARVEE bonds, ATRIP will allow the state to access future federal dollars to finance road and bridge improvements that are needed today.
"Using GARVEE bonds makes good financial sense," Governor Bentley said. "Right now, the cost of borrowing is very low. In fact, the cost of inflation on these construction projects is higher than the interest rates we'll pay on the bonds."
The long-term nature of the ATRIP project will generate construction jobs throughout the state. While initial funding requests are due March 31, additional requests can be submitted in the future. The program is expected to continue for three years.
All approved projects will follow an expedited development process in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Transportation.
"Bottom line -- this will make our state safer. It will improve quality of life. And it will create new jobs," Governor Bentley said. "We're moving forward, and people will see projects getting underway soon."