Georgia State Transportation Board member Roy Herrington of Baxley announced recently that the City of Pembroke has been awarded Transportation Enhancement (TE) program funds for Fiscal Year 2008 & Fiscal Year 2009 for the 1st Congressional District.
Pembroke received $200,000 for the Pembroke Downtown Redevelopment Phase III, which will provide multi-use pedestrian and bicycle improvements that will link various destination points within downtown, parks, and the Central Business District. This is the third such TE award the city has received since 2000.
In 2000, then Bryan County Planner Harmit Bedi assisted the city with their first application process and development of a Master Plan for Pembroke. The first award was originally for the amount of $200K and was increased to $300K.
The city used the funds to streetscape the downtown business district on HWY 280 from College Street to Strickland Street. Decorative lampposts were added along with wheelchair accessible sidewalks, brick work, and other historically accurate projects were undertaken.
Three years later the city received more TE funding in the amount of $300K to continue the project from College Street to Warnell Avenue, with the continued updating of sidewalks and lighting in the Downtown District. Through "Memorial & Honorary Brick" sales, the City of Pembroke was also able to raise funds to build the downtown Memorial Walk and Fountain. Phase II is currently being worked on.
This Monday city officials learned that with the reward of another $200K, the improvement projects will continue. "We are real grateful to receive this funding," said Ricky McCoy Pembroke’s City Clerk of Works. "We have worked really hard to continue with the improvements of our growing city. It is nice not only to be recognized for the good work but to also be rewarded with funding to continue these projects. Community members may not realize how expensive these projects can be. Just one lamppost cost over $3000 and sidewalk updates can cost over $2.70 per square foot. It all adds up."
The TE program is federally-funded and was originally established in 1991 by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). The program was continued by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act - A Legacy For Users (SAFETEA-LU) in 2005. The Georgia DOT’s Planning Office manages the TE program in Georgia.
"I’m delighted to announce the recipients of these grants," State Transportation Board member Roy Herrington of Baxley said. "We received many excellent applications from communities and organizations in the First District. Unfortunately, we could not fund all of them. The projects which are being funded showed great local government commitment to improving their community’s quality of life and their local elected leaders and state legislators are to be commended." Mr. Herrington stated the support of the various legislators within the District were key to their respective projects’ successful funding.
The TE program’s goal is to enrich the transportation experience of Georgians through specific types of enhancement projects. The kinds of projects funded by the TE program include multi-use facilities such as walking and biking trails and paths, streetscaping and landscaping projects in cities and towns, historic preservation of transportation-related facilities like railroad depots, and scenic preservation of views and scenic byways.
This year, the Georgia DOT received a total of 285 eligible applications representing combined requests for more than $176 million in federal funds from all 13 congressional districts. In this selection round, $54.6 million in federal funds are available for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009 for distribution statewide. Twenty applicants received funding in Georgia’s First Congressional District.
Up to 80 percent of the funds being used for these projects have been provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), with the local government funding the remainder of the total project cost. The local government project sponsor is responsible for implementing the TE project and obtaining federal reimbursement from Georgia DOT.
To aid in the project selection, the Georgia DOT relies on an extensive in-house technical review and the Transportation Enhancement Advisory Panel, which was formed in 1992. The advisory panel group of professionals, representing statewide expertise in the various TE project categories, evaluated each application and forwarded its recommendations to the State Transportation Board for final selection of the funded projects.