County approves 2020 transportation plan

Sitton

Alabama’s six-cent gas tax increase became official Sunday and was the first increment of the 10-cent increase approved this year by state legislators and Gov. Kay Ivey.

Lawrence County Engineer Winston Sitton said an estimated $493,000 will be added to the county’s road projects for the 2020 calendar year following the statewide fuel tax increase.

In a special called meeting last week, the Lawrence County Commission approved the Fiscal 2020 County Transportation Plan, which included the $493,000 allocated to Lawrence County through County Rebuild Alabama Funds.

Sitton said the county will also receive $400,000 from a Federal Aid Exchange Fund to be used to match federal funding on major and minor collection roadways or on bridges.

“The CRAF, this is the money that’s straight from the gas tax, so it’s coming straight to us,” Sitton said. “We’ll have $493,000 estimated revenue next year. We will not have all that by the time we are paid. We should have about $370,000 by June.”

Sitton said projects for fiscal 2020 were based on the $370,000 the county is projected to receive from gas tax revenue, and the remaining $123,000 will be rolled over for the next year.

 

“This first year, that’s going to happen. From now on, you will lose some at the end of your year, but you’ll be gaining from the year before, so it’s going to work in four-year amounts from this point on,” he told commissioners.

Sitton said the estimated revenue should increase to approximately $657,000 in 2021 after the state tax increases an additional two cents per gallon, and by 2022, the county could receive about $821,000 when the gas tax caps at the full ten-cents-per-gallon that was proposed and signed into law.

Major road projects to be performed in fiscal 2020 include repaving a route along County Road 23, which will span from Alabama Highway 24 to Mount Hope School, Sitton said.

County Road 23 has not been resurfaced since 1995, he added.

The road department will also begin projects on portions of County Roads 434, 28 and 400.

Sitton said $180,000 of the FAE fund will be spent as a match on federal funding for County Road 434, which runs south from Alabama Highway 20 through the Hillsboro community.

Work to be done on County Roads 400 and 28 include bridge improvement projects. Sitton said $4,734.46 of the FAE fund will be used on the County Road 400 bridge that crosses Mallard Creek. The project will also utilize $42,610.11 from federal safety funds.

A bridge along County Road 28, which crosses Town Creek near Old Town Creek Baptist Church, will also see repair work and use $10,363.81 of the FAE fund, Sitton said. The Emergency Repair Project will also utilize $41,455.22 of Emergency Federal Relief Funds, according to the Rebuild Alabama plan.

“We as counties are being more transparent on where this new tax money is coming from,” District 3 Commissioner Kyle Pankey said. “We want individual taxpayers to be able to see specifically where this new money went to.”

 Pankey plans to hold community meetings similar to those the commission organized earlier this year to outline county funding for future road projects.

Sitton said details of the Rebuild Alabama Fiscal 2020 plan will also be posted on the county’s website, at the Lawrence County Commission office, and the Road Department on Highway 157 in Moulton.

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