These are not the same funds as for the other stimulus projects that
were submitted last month in the regional requests for specific
projects. But rather these are part of the bulk federal stimulus
funds being given to all states for each state to distribute through
its Department of Transportation to its counties and communities.
Illinois was allotted $281 million, of which the Illinois
Department of Transportation has allotted over $200 million to the
large metropolitan areas, and the remaining $33 million goes to the
rest of the 96 downstate counties. Illinois has 102 counties.
IDOT used the same formula for the distribution of the bonus
funds that it uses to decide how much counties usually get in annual
transportation funding. The amount Logan County has been allotted is
equal to the amount usually received in one year from the federal
allotment. "So it's kind of like getting a one-year bonus," Aukamp
The biggest qualification for the use of the funds is that
projects must meet federal criteria. The allotment needs to be
claimed in March and has one year to get "obligated to a project."
The General Assembly must approve the allotments first and then
they would become available in June.
Aukamp said that he was glad for the funds. He would be checking
the federal criteria, but it appeared that there were already plenty
of projects for the committee to choose where those funds could be
He then reviewed for the committee the projects planned, pointing
out pros and cons in using the funding for those projects, and asked
for their direction.
The county has three major projects
on its docket:
County Highway 10,
the Elkhart to Mount Pulaski blacktop -- scheduled to proceed
this year; waiting to hear from the state about economic
development funds that have been applied for
County Highway 1,
Mount Pulaski to Illinois 54 -- to be let for bids in May,
possibly to be scheduled for 2010
Fifth Street Road, seven culverts being
replaced from 500th Avenue to 225th Avenue -- to be done this
year; funding is in place
The first project that the funds could be used toward would
be the top project planned for the county this year. This project is
ready to roll, has already been through the federal review process
and meets criteria.
It is a road that connects Elkhart and Mount Pulaski. A portion
of that road also passes the Elkhart mine operation. The road helps
transport coal to Interstate 55; some coal also goes toward Mount
Pulaski. This is a $2 million project that was submitted to the
state for economic development assistance last year.
Aukamp said that he has spent considerable time in recent weeks
trying to find out the status of that funding request. He said that
the state appointed a new transportation secretary Saturday. He
hoped that might help.
There is a major drawback to using the stimulus funds for this
project. The project is ready to roll and needs to get going in
The stimulus funding must first go through state legislature
approval and then would not become available until June for bid
letting. It would be July before bids could be awarded to
contractors, delaying the start of construction until sometime in
August or September or maybe into October, making it very
complicated, Aukamp said.
"This is a big project and it is going to take a while to build
it," Aukamp said. The road would be developed in three phases. The
first phase would be from Elkhart to 800th Avenue; the second phase
would be from 800th Avenue (the coal mine) to Primm Road; and the
third phase from Primm Road to Route 121 in Mount Pulaski.
The second project, Highway 1, also has a hitch. It may be
preferable to delay its start as IDOT is giving some consideration
to redoing the Route 53-121 overhead. This would cause detours
probably into town.
The third project involves replacing seven hazardous box
culverts along Fifth Street Road. These are located between 500th
and 225th Avenue. This work will complement the work that is to be
done later when the road between I-55 and Middletown is fully
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Aukamp said he is expecting to wrap up paperwork that involved a lot
of negotiating with landowners. It would be submitted to IDOT for
final approval and would likely be back in time for an April bid
Funds have already been received from a federal grant in the
amount of $324,500. The total cost of the 90-10 agreement is
estimated at $360,000, with the county or the township supplying 10
Aukamp summed up his review of the projects at hand by saying
that the work on the Elkhart-Mount Pulaski blacktop would be better
started earlier in the year due to its size and it being a concrete
Each of the projects would require other scheduling
considerations, such as avoiding parallel road closures,
particularly around Mount Pulaski, where several possible projects
could be taking place in this one season; and local seasonal traffic
needs, such as trying to accommodate for peak times when farmers
need to go in and out of their fields, and the start of the school
year. To delay this project would take public understanding.
Fifth Street Road still a priority
Terry Carlton, county board chairman, questioned what projects
the county had prioritized in planning.
Aukamp said that Fifth Street Road was the top priority in the
That project is actually a higher priority and has been in the
planning for a longer period than any other project, Aukamp said.
But the project has a funding partner involved: the city of Lincoln.
"While they have gotten some money also, they did not get near
enough to do that project, either," he said. He added that he has
been in contact with representatives of the city, including city
engineer Mark Mathon, but the subject had not yet gone before the
council for discussion.
The city of Lincoln stimulus allotment is $464,878. Aukamp
doubted the city would want to go forward without some other
additional funding, but he would wait to see what they would say.
Since planning began, the city has gradually become responsible
for more of this roadway project. The first phase, which is now
deemed the urban section, lies between Lincoln Parkway and I-55. In
January 2003 the city took over a 7.5-mile stretch that with other
segments now brings the city's portion to represent 75 percent of
the project, and the county's portion has diminished to 25 percent.
While Aukamp thought that this would be the last of the IDOT
stimulus dollars, he thought the area could still see some capital
improvement stimulus funds come through. A $6.2 million request was
submitted for Fifth Street Road in the regional requests that were
made last month.
Committeemen agreed with Aukamp's observations. Bill Martin
offered that he thought it best to wait and see where to commit the
funding, based on what else might yet come in, either from economic
development or additional stimulus funds, but that the county would
be accepting the current proffered allotment to place on one or more
of the projects.
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