Announced Wednesday in a press release from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, the 18 governments and community improvement districts will receive a total of $33 million in grants and loans for various infrastructure projects. The GTIB, established in 2008, is intended to be a revolving infrastructure fund, according to the release.
Bartow County’s grant amounts to $2,360,000, which will allow the county to do the Cass-White Road project as originally planned, said County Administrator Peter Olson.
“This grant wasn’t something that we programmed for. It just popped up as an available opportunity. So we thought we’d apply and we were really delighted to get such a huge grant awarded. The [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] was programmed to be — $4 million was put into the SPLOST for this and it was looking like a more expensive project, so we were going to have to cut it back or value engineer it somehow, but this grant means we can move forward with the original design and so forth,” he said.
The planned work will occur on the east end of Cass-White Road. Olson said the current railroad crossing will be closed and Cass-White Road will shift south through land owned by Anheuser-Busch to straighten out curves and allow for a bridge to be built over the railroad. A new intersection with U.S. Highway 411 is planned as well. The press release also lists eliminating substandard curves and constructing two 12-foot lanes with accompanying turn lanes as additional project features.
Olson said the project would improve access for both school traffic and anticipated industrial traffic, which led to the county tackling the project.
“The SPLOST list had 12 or 15 intersections and projects on it, and that was before my time, but that process they used ... they basically sort of ranked roads in terms of criteria — what needed the most assistance. It wasn’t sort of random. It was based on number of accidents or other factors that made the roads — volume of traffic — that logically made the roads need the most attention,” Olson said. “One of the strong factors for this road is the school. The school got built and that wasn’t the best place from a road point of view to put a school, so we need to improve the road because of the amount of traffic that the school brought to it.”
Though the process has not yet begun, Olson believed the county would bid out the roadwork.
The second grant winner in Bartow County is the Red Top Community Improvement District’s South Campus Connectivity Projects, which will help provide access to the LakePoint Sporting Community. According to the press release, the project received a grant of $2,000,000 and will build a new road connecting to State Route 293 in LakePoint’s south campus.
In the release, Deal said the GTIB grants and loans assist communities in advancing important transportation projects.
“The GTIB program is an important resource for community improvement districts and local governments seeking supplemental funding needed to move vital transportation projects forward,” he said. “The projects receiving funding today will not only enhance mobility in local communities, they will also keep Georgia’s business engine moving forward by improving access to retail and job centers throughout the state.”