County Decides Not to Apply for Federal Grant - The Missourian: Local News

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County Decides Not to Apply for Federal Grant

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Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 7:30 pm

Franklin County will not apply for a large amount of federal grant funding that is available.

County Engineer Joe Feldmann said this is because the county does not think it would stand a good chance of being awarded the money.

Therefore, he said it is senseless to spend time filling out an application if no benefit will come from it.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER)grant program, which is offered through the U.S. Department of Transportation, makes available $474 million. Grant applications must be received by June 1.

But Feldmann said the TIGER grant is probably not set up for the types of projects the county would like to use the funding for.

The county had considered applying for TIGER grant funds to replace the Bend Road bridge in eastern Franklin County.

At least $120 million of the TIGER grant funds must be spent in rural areas across the United States.

The county was denied TIGER grant funding last year for the Bend Road bridge project.

Feldmann said there may be more politics involved in the TIGER grant than what Franklin County is used to dealing with. He said some of that money could already be earmarked for “pet projects” elsewhere. County officials heard that it would be difficult to get any of the funding for this area, he said.

The Bend Road bridge is probably the worst bridge in the state, Franklin County Highway Administrator Eva Gadcke has said.

While the TIGER grant is not being pursued to replace the bridge, the county is seeking other federal funds for the project.

The county applied to the regional transportation agency for $3.6 million in federal surface transportation funds to replace the bridge. But the East-West Gateway Council of Governments in St. Louis has recommended that the county only get $160,000 for right of way acquisition

County officials hope they can secure the remaining funds to replace the Bend Road bridge next year. If the East-West Gateway approves the funding next year, the bridge could be built in 2016, Gadcke has said.

The bridge replacement is expected to cost about $5.3 million, and the county was hoping that the project could be split with the $3.6 million grant and $1.7 million in county funds.

Meanwhile, county officials have expressed concern about the stability of the Bend Road bridge, especially since it is used by school buses.

But closing the bridge has not been deemed necessary. However, a fracture critical study of the structure to look further into the bridge’s stability is expected to be done in September, Feldmann said.

/local_news

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