Funding opportunities for city and county infrastructure explored during recent D.C. trip

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Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune

WASHINGTON D.C. – A band of Cullman County heavyweights made their way to Washington D.C. last week to learn more about grant opportunities and funding available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in November of last year.

The bipartisan bill was deemed as “the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century,” by the White House.

County Commission Chairman Jeff Clemons, City of Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs, Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer, Cullman County Industrial Development Authority Chairman Jason Grimmett, Cullman County Commission Administrator John Bullard, Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison and Cullman County Economic Development Director Bradley Williams made the trek to D.C. on Monday, June 6.

Clemons recounts, “It was a great trip. We got some good information on grants and especially the new infrastructure bill. We met with Congressman Robert Aderholt, Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Tommy Tuberville. We had a good meeting.

“We’re trying to apply for anything federally knowing there’s money out there with the new infrastructure bill. We learned a lot of information on that.”

The state of Alabama should be allocated $5.2 billion for highway programs and $225 million for the replacement and repair of bridges over the next five years. Additionally, the state can vie for another $12.5 billion, available in the Bridge Investment Program.

Clemons continues, “We have so many bridges in this county, and we know that, in the next several years, some are going to have to be replaced. We have a massive road and bridge system here in Cullman County. We’re second in the state with the most miles of roads that we have to maintain.

“One of the things we talked about is Phillips Bridge which is Big Bridge on County Road 222 that crosses Smith Lake. That’s about a $30 million bridge to replace. We talked about ways to get help on that bridge before it’s so dilapidated that we have to replace the whole thing. Right now, there’s things we can do to extend the life of the bridge another 30 years with funding.

“We’re trying anyway we can to bring back money to Cullman County. If we don’t go ask for it, we’re never going to get it. We’ll get through these challenging times as long as we keep working hard. We’re doing our best to get as much for Cullman County as we can.”

A copy of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684/text.

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