Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Gov. Kemp Announces $16.9 Million to Fund Transportation Infrastructure Projects – AllOnGeorgia

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Governor Brian P. Kemp and the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) Board of Directors recently announced the approval of $16.9 million in Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) loans and grants that will help fund five transportation infrastructure projects across the state. This round of funding includes the fourth largest loan amount allocated in the program’s history.

“Our state’s unprecedented economic growth is in part thanks to our reliable transportation infrastructure network that serves both hardworking Georgians and the job creators that employ them,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “In order to continue attracting talent and opportunity and maintain our status as the number one state to do business, we must responsibly fund our infrastructure needs. Thanks to this investment, even more communities will see improvements with a generational impact.”

Approved funding includes $6.6 million awarded to Peach County in the form of a $5.6 million loan and a $1 million grant. This is the largest in GTIB’s history, reflecting continued efforts to help prioritize investment in rural parts of the state. By fully meeting Peach County’s funding requests for the Lilly Creek Road project, GTIB will substantially accelerate the paving of a dirt road providing access to over 1,000 acres of developable land and improving connectivity.

According to Peach County Administrator April Hodges, Peach County experienced persistent challenges in ensuring the safety of Lily Creek Road due to its unpaved condition and the project’s significance was recognized through successive comprehensive plans since 2016. Chairman Martin H. Moseley, Jr. of the Peach County Board of Commissioners confirmed that receiving GTIB funding will expedite the paving of Lily Creek and save the county two years and additional costs. “We are appreciative of the commitment of SRTA and its Board of Directors, led by Governor Kemp, to prioritize the transportation improvement needs of small communities such as ours,” stated Chairman Moseley. “This will enable the county to focus on other critical transportation projects, facilitating efficient roads and coordinated planning for new industrial development, preparing for future growth.”

The City of Watkinsville is receiving funding for its Simonton Bridge Road Pedestrian Improvements project. Receiving a GTIB award for this project will be transformative for the Watkinsville community. The cost of the Simonton Bridge Road project is more than the city’s $3 million annual operating budget. In addition, it would take an estimated 5 to 7 years to complete the project, without this award. With the help of GTIB funds, the city anticipates completing this project in less time and at approximately half the cost.

“For decades, residents along busy Simonton Bridge Road have requested a pedestrian connection to downtown Watkinsville,” said Watkinsville Mayor Brian Brodrick. “Given the challenging terrain, limited right of way and our small budget, Watkinsville simply could not make this happen without a very long timeline or outside support. GTIB funding will allow us to accelerate our plans while connecting a new 100-acre park to downtown. We are grateful to Governor Kemp and SRTA for their support.”

Since its inception in 2010, GTIB has awarded $216 million in grants and loans investing in projects, with a combined project value exceeding $1.1 billion, demonstrating the impact of the state’s investment and outstanding partnerships with local governments and community improvement districts (CIDs) in Georgia over the past 14 years.

“We are excited that the investment we have made into transportation projects around this state will continue to grow. While we’ve invested $16.9 million throughout the state this year, there were $52 million in additional funds requested, the majority of which was in the form of loans. Thanks to the members of the Georgia General Assembly, starting in Fiscal Year 2025, GTIB’s annual funding allocation from the state legislature will increase from $13 million to $15.4 million,” said SRTA Executive Director, Jannine Miller. “This increase in funding will allow GTIB to help even more local governments throughout the state accelerate project delivery and reduce transportation infrastructure costs for Georgia taxpayers.”

From the very first award granted, GTIB has provided strategic state investments in critical transportation projects that enhance mobility in local communities throughout Georgia. Applications are evaluated on a competitive basis. Criteria include transportation/engineering merit, economic merit, matching funds, and project specifics such as project phase and feasibility.

Loan applications are also evaluated for creditworthiness and overall project merits. An advisory committee comprised of representatives from state agencies and statewide associations evaluate SRTA staff recommendations and make final recommendations to the SRTA Board. Funds distributed by GTIB are used for capital expenses related to road and bridge infrastructure work.

The GTIB application window started November 1st and closed on Wednesday, January 25, 2024. Fiscal Year 2024 awardees, project descriptions, and funding amounts are as follows:

Peach County
Lilly Creek Road Project
This project will pave Lilly Creek Road from SR 49 to Brock Rd/Fullwood Road, a distance of two miles, and will include the addition of a new culvert at Mossy Creek to prevent flooding. The project will improve paved road connectivity, access to the state network, and opportunities to attract industry to the area.
GTIB Loan Award: $5,600,000
GTIB Grant Award: $1,000,000

City of Watkinsville
Simonton Bridge Road Pedestrian Improvements
This project will construct an approximately 3,100-foot-long, ten-foot-wide pathway along Simonton Bridge Road from the Simonton Place neighborhood to Mulberry Street – supporting economic development in the downtown area by connecting it to one-quarter of the City’s population.
GTIB Loan Award: $2,225,000
GTIB Grant Award: $1,530,405

City of Locust Grove
Peeksville Connector
This project will construct a new two-lane road connecting Peeksville Road at its intersection with SR 42 to Frances Ward Drive, including the addition of eastbound turn lanes at SR 42. The project will reduce congestion in downtown Locust Grove and improve connectivity to the state network.
GTIB Loan Award: $2,000,000
GTIB Grant Award: $2,000,000

City of Sandy Springs
Boylston Drive between Hilderbrand and Hammond Drive
This project will realign the existing intersection of Hammond Drive and Boylston Drive/Hamilton Glen and install new sidewalks at each corner of the realigned intersection in order to improve traffic flow and safety.
GTIB Loan Award: $850,000
GTIB Grant Award: $650,000

Upper Westside CID
Chattahoochee Avenue Improvements Phase I
This one-mile-long project will convert a westbound turn lane to eastbound at the Howell Mill and Chattahoochee Avenue intersection, streamline signal operations at Howell Mill and Defoor Avenue, and construct a multiuse path along Chattahoochee Avenue between Southland Circle NW and Howell Mill Road. The project will improve freight access to I-75 and improve multimodal travel.
GTIB Loan Award: $1,000,000

For more information about the GTIB program, visit www.srta.ga.gov/gtib.

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