The Franklin County Transportation Committee may have about $378,000 in grant money to allocate to local communities this year.

Each year, the committee gets a pot of money to disburse in the form of grants to communities and road districts within the county.

The transportation committee scores each application on various criteria, such as safety, said Eva Gadcke, Franklin County’s highway administrator.

The official amount of money that will be available for the grants won’t be known until mid-February, Gadcke said.

The grant money represents 5 percent of the county’s capital improvement half-cent sales tax.

Cities Should Get More

At Monday’s meeting of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee, Bill Miller Sr., a member, commented that cities should receive more than the 5 percent annually from the half-cent sales tax.

Miller said that 10 percent would be more fair since the bulk of the $5 million or more the tax generates annually is raised in the cities.

He added that when the tax was promoted, it was emphasized that the cities would share in the money raised.

Additional Money

Gadcke noted that the grants are based on sales tax collections from the previous year. Typically about $250,000 is available for grants each year, but this year there will be additional money.

That’s because the city of Sullivan is returning money that it did not use because it was unable to obtain right of way for a Highway 185 realignment project, Gadcke said.

Communities apply to the transportation committee for the grants. The committee, which has representation from cities, road districts and townships, then makes a recommendation to the county commission, which makes the final decision of how the money is allocated.

Last year, all of the money was dedicated to help pay for enhancements on a new Missouri River bridge at Washington that is slated to built in 2016-17. The city of Washington contributed $500,000 and Warren County paid $50,000 toward those enhancements.

Grant applications will be sent to the communities in June, and they are due back to the committee in July.

The committee will make its recommendation in August, and the county commission will consider final awards.

The grants are open to the cities of Washington, New Haven, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and Sullivan, the town of Berger, Oak Grove Village and road districts for Washington, Union, New Haven and Sullivan.

Those who get grants have three years to use them.