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Levy transit in, bridges out in federal funds

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

BRONSON — Levy County can expect to get about $1 million in transit funds from the newly signed federal stimulus bill, the Board of County Commissioners was told.

Bruce Greenlee, head of the Levy County Road Department, said that was the news coming out of a statewide videoconference he attended last week at the Department of Transportation office in Lake City.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan”, the official name of the stimulus bill signed by President Barak Obama on Tuesday, will provide money to the states. Florida’s share of the $787 billion legislation is $12 billion.

Greenlee said, “I left the meeting encouraged that Levy would receive $1 million for roads and bridges.”

The county road boss handed out a sheet distributed by the state DOT showing which roads and bridges in the county are eligible for federal aid. Greenlee said the DOT official said he would like to fund the bike and pedestrian path on Manatee Highway, County Road 320 in Chiefland.

“What about my bridges,” Commissioner Lilly Rooks, asked, surprised that several bridges in need of repair were not on the list of eligible projects.

“Bridges 10 and 11 would not be eligible,” Greenlee said. “Bridge 14 would be eligible.”

County Coordinator Freddie Moody said the money is not likely to go higher and suggested the commission meet in a workshop with the municipalities to find out what they were hoping to fund. Moody mentioned that only Chiefland and Inglis had representatives at the meeting, even though the county has eight municipalities.

Commission Chair Nancy Bell directed Clerk of Court Danny Shipp to look into arranging a meeting with municipal representatives in the courtroom at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24.

“You can contact each municipality and ask who wants to come out on top in this fight for the money,” Commissioner Danny Stevens said.

In another action, the commission approved making a request for proposals from engineers to have a “library” of engineers available to speed up preparing “shovel-ready” projects for stimulus money.

Greenlee told the commission that with the “library” of engineers to choose from they could qualify for design/build projects where work can start and the design work is done as it goes along, rather than front-loading the design work before applying and starting work.