• 81°

ATRIP benefits county

Escambia County officials are urging citizens to look at the Alabama Transportation and Rehabilitation Investment Program (ATRIP) as an example of how local road and bridge investments can benefit the entire state.

ATRIP was introduced in 2012 as an infrastructure initiative aimed at investing over $1 billion into Alabama’s local roads and bridges. As a result of ATRIP’s investment plan, many counties will complete 15 to 20 years of road and bridge projects in a three to four year period.

In Escambia County, some $10.5 million were used to replace two deficient bridges and approximately 60 miles of road improvements over a two-year period. County Engineer Bill Bridges said that funding is equivalent to more than 20 years of normal federal allocations received by the county.

While the program has been beneficial to the citizens who utilize the routes receiving ATRIP moneys, county leaders expect other communities in Escambia County will have to go without such improvements due to budget shortfalls.
According to the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA), most counties are facing this same issue.

Bridges said Escambia County has joined a statewide coalition of county engineers, county commissioners, community leaders, and citizens known as DRIVE Alabama, or Developing a Road and Infrastructure Vision for Everyone in Alabama, in hopes of bringing more statewide attention to the limited funding available to support Alabama’s growing infrastructure needs.

“With our current financial resources almost exclusively going to maintenance activities, Escambia County is situated like most Alabama counties,” Bridges said. “The amount of money needed to improve and preserve the county’s road and bridge network is 200 percent higher than what is currently available to perform basic maintenance.

“We simply don’t have the resources to complete all the infrastructure work that needs to be done,” he said.