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10 proposals presented at transportation summit

Rep. Artur Davis warned local officials that funding from an upcoming federal transportation bill would be limited. Davis urged those who attended the second of three transportation summits the congressman will hold across the state to only submit projects that have additional sources of funding and would have an immediate impact, creating jobs in the short term and encouraging long-term economic development.

“I’m determined to spend it wisely,” Davis said. “We will have a limited pool of money. We will have to make some very difficult decisions.”

Davis said he expects to receive about $30 million from the bill, which would then be spread across the 7th Congressional District. Davis said he expects to receive between 27 and 30 proposals, with only five-to-seven projects actually receiving funding.

On Tuesday, representatives from across Dallas, Perry, Wilcox and Sumter counties presented a total of 10 projects. These projects included: a $1.4 million access road improvement at Craig Air Base, a $250,000 United Way transit call center, funding for the City of Selma’s proposed Riverfront Park, a $1.36 million street repaving project in Marion, a $400,000 access road at South Dallas County Industrial Park, a $630,000 access road at Wilcox County Industrial Park, a $26 million widening of a stretch of Alabama Highway 22, a $150,000 study explore building a railroad station in Selma, an $855,000 street repaving project in Cuba, Ala. and nearly $3 million in improvements at the Perry County Airport Industrial Authority.

Over the next few weeks, Davis and his staff will whittle down the project list and submit a final list to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by May 9. Davis said he wanted to learn about transportation needs straight from the horse’s mouth.

“We want to hear from the community,” he said.

Officials lobbied Davis with promises of immediate job creation. Probate Judge Kim Ballard, who spoke on behalf of the Alabama Highway 22 project, said the project would provide jobs and bring new sources of revenue to Dallas County.

“We can put people to work immediately,” Ballard said.

Any project selected for funding from the bill would have to be approved by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Mayor George Evans said there are many shovel-ready projects that could make a significant impact on the area.

“We certainly do have some great projects to present,” Evans said.

Charlotte Griffith, director of planning and development, said while the federal funding would have a tremendous impact, local support is also needed.

“We realize that a well-planned transportation project with multi-faceted funding is a good transportation project,” Griffeth said.