The Coffee County Commission approved the Fiscal Year 2020 transportation plan at its regular meeting on Aug. 26.
Coffee County Engineer Marty Lentz presented the plan, which is required by the Rebuild Alabama Act, known commonly as the 10 cent gas tax. The tax took effect Sept. 1 raising the tax on gas by six cents and will continue to rise by two cents for the next three years until it reaches 10 cents.
Lentz said the county’s estimated FY 2020 revenue from the new tax would be $575,000.
The plan slates three projects for 2020, three using the county’s Rebuild Alabama Fund (CRAF) and one using the Federal Aid Exchange Fund (FAEF).
Lentz discussed how the plan was put together.
“We felt like the best use of this new money was on our local roads,” Lentz said. “So what we did is we took the 2019 annual road inspection and we looked at the local roads that needed resurfacing. As it stands right now there’s 226 miles of local roads in Coffee County and we analyzed our inspections and there’s 42 local roads that need resurfacing now at a total of 91.7 miles
“That’s about 40 percent of our local roads needs resurfacing. Naturally we don’t have enough money to resurface all 91 miles of these local roads so we went out to these 42 roads and we took traffic counts. We let the ones with the most traffic or the highest average daily traffic (count) and we sorted them. And those ones with the most traffic are the ones that went to the top of the list.”
The first project on the plan is the resurfacing and traffic striping of 3.85 miles of Coffee County Road 723 from AL-27 to County Road 708.
“County Road 723 really stood out, it had a daily average traffic count of over 800 cars a day in comparison to the rest of our higher volume local roads were around 200 cars a day,” Lentz said. “The northern portion was built back in the 70’s and actually paved back in the 1970’s and the southern portion was paved in 1996 so it’s kind of got two condition states. The northern portion of the road is narrowed, the ride quality is severely affected from being patched and is rough. The southern part is starting to lose a lot of aggregate from our paving back in 1996 and we’re experiencing a lot of pot holes.”
The project is slated to use $240,000 of the CRAF and $180,000 of local county funds for an estimated cost of $420,000.
The second project is the resurfacing and crack sealing of 1.10 miles in the Heritage Heights subdivision. It is planned to use $100,000 of the CRAF and $75,000 of local county funds for an estimated cost of $175,000.
The third project is the resurfacing and traffic striping of 2.39 miles of Coffee County Road 200 from County Road 200 to the Pike County line. This project is estimated to cost $245,000 with $235,000 of CRAF funds and $10,000 of local county funds utilized.
The final project is the resurfacing and traffic striping of 4.53 miles of Coffee County Road 110 from County Road 107 to the Dale County Line.
Lentz said County Road 110 is classified as a collector road and will use funds from the FAEF.
The FAEF offers counties $400,000 of state funds in exchange for $533,000 of federal funds, according to Lentz.
He said that due to red tape and overhead, the $533,000 is really equivalent to about $460,000 of state funds. He said the exchange allows the county easier access to funds with less overhead and red tape.
“To spend federal aid monies there’s a lot of processes you must go through,” Lentz said. “Some of our collector routes that have qualified for federal aid funds, we have not been able to utilize federal aid funds due to maybe the right-of-way was not acquired according to federal standards or there’s a cemetery that’s encroached upon the right-of-way. So there’s a lot of things that although the road is eligible by its classification, there’s some particulars that make it ineligible for funding.”
He said that the county received an advancement on its federal aid funds for the year before the act was passed so the county will only receive $257,000 in FAEF.
The project will use that $257,000 and $268,000 of local county funds for a total cost of $525,000.
The next Coffee County Commission meeting will be Sept. 9 at 9 a.m. at the government building in New Brockton. The meeting is open to the public.