It was welcome news indeed when the state announced its new program, called the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. The program takes federal highway money and invests it in warrants, which will allow it to distribute more than $6 billion to individual county and municipal road projects.
County officials are prepared to submit more than $20 million in requests for inclusion under the program; Commission Chairman Stan Batemon said the county could pave all of its maintained roads in the next five years, if it receives approval.
We applaud the state and the county for their diligence. The program will be a benefit to the county and to local contractors, who will find work available to them as a result.
Nevertheless, other road projects continue to be a concern. During his visit with citizens in Leeds last week, Sen. Slade Blackwell heard about a few of them. Leeds is in dire need of help for its two interchanges off Interstate 20 — 140 and 144, the latter of which is a shared concern with Moody — as well as improvements along U.S. 78.
In Moody and Odenville, the need remains for widening of U.S. 411 — one need only happen by that area at 5:30 p.m. to see the congestion. Farther to the east, motorists continue to deal with the ongoing project to widen Interstate 20 between Moody and Pell City — the projected completion date for that is spring 2013, but who can say for sure?
These are hardly the only concerns; name a locale in St. Clair County, and you will find a road that requires attention.
ATRIP is a step in the right direction for our citizens. Let us hope more steps in that direction are still to come.