“I’m very excited to get a chunk of this money to do a lot of resurfacing,” Boothe said after finding out Thursday how much stimulus money was coming his way.
Although he had projects totaling $272 million for which his office applied, Boothe was also delighted that his was among the few county engineer’s offices in District 10 of the Ohio Department of Transportation to get direct funding.
ODOT received a lion’s share of funds for major projects in the district, such as the U.S. 33 Athens-Nelsonville bypass. All counties in District 10 were awarded money for at least one project, Boothe said.
Gallia road projects paid by the funding were to be determined today, although Boothe forecast one of the jobs will be a resurfacing on Keystone Road near Vinton. ODOT is providing free plan work for county engineers funded by the stimulus so their projects can be submitted by Tuesday.
Along with traditional money sources, such as State Issue 1 and Community Development Block grants, Boothe said he expects much will be done to improve the local highway system.
“You’re going to see a lot of resurfacing this year,” he said.
ODOT received $150 million for the Nelsonville project, Boothe said, as well as $815,000 for paving of Ohio 7 in Meigs County.
Vinton County’s engineer was awarded $500,000 for repaving projects on that county’s roads, while the KYOWVA (Kentucky-Ohio-West Virginia) Interstate Planning Commission netted $3.6 million for the development of an intermodal transfer facility for South Point.
Jackson County will get $2 million for a rail line relief project, Boothe said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ted Strickland said Thursday more than 21,000 jobs will be created as federal economic stimulus dollars flow into Ohio to fully or partially fund 149 transportation-related projects in nearly all of the state’s counties.
Strickland announced a list of priority projects, from roadways to port improvements, that he said likely never would have been funded without the help of $774 million in federal stimulus money.
However, the federal money currently is tied up in the state’s two-year $7.5 billion transportation budget proposal, which is stuck in negotiations between the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate. A number of thorny issues remain, including a disagreement over who will get eventual authority to approve a passenger rail project along major cities.
“I am very concerned,” said Strickland, a Democrat. “But we are continuing to work, at least on our side, in good faith to try to come to a resolution of the serious remaining challenges that we face.”
Strickland said the money would create an estimated 21,257 jobs and go to the following projects:
• $603.5 million for 113 road projects.
• $34.5 million for five improvement projects along the state’s waterways, including at the Port of Toledo.
• $68.9 million for 22 railroad projects, mostly for freight rail.
• $50.9 million for improving connections for shipments by air, rail and truck at places such as Franklin County’s Rickenbacker Airport.
• $16.2 million will for additional planning and engineering as needs become known.
“These projects will move Ohio toward a more multi-modal system of transportation that links Ohio’s businesses, highways, railways, transit and ports into an advanced and efficient network for moving goods and people,” Strickland said.
The job estimates are based on a federal model that takes into account historical data for how many jobs have been created when the government spends a certain amount of money on infrastructure projects.
Strickland said the stimulus funds are being targeted broadly to benefit all Ohioans. But there also will be region-specific projects targeting particular areas in the state.
Decisions on the spending of another $161 million has been left to regional planning groups in Cleveland, Akron, Dayton, Youngstown, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo and Canton.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story).