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Hill sponsors legislation to unlock asphalt grant money by lowering matching requirement

By Bonnie Davis Guy
State Representative Timothy Hill announces his sponsorship of legislation that will make it easier for rural counties, such as Johnson County, to access a Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Grant Program specifically for asphalt needed for road repairs and upgrades. This grant has been in place for some time through the TDOT budget and is ultimately funded by the state gasoline tax. The issue for most rural counties has been the required 25 percent county match. The program funds are already set aside each year, however they go unused by many counties who cannot afford the current match amount. Hill’s legislation would reduce the county match to a more manageable two percent. The main goal of this bill is to unlock existing funds and make them more accessible to all counties. The overall State Aid Asphalt Grant Fund is nearly $23 million. Johnson County’s portion of that fund would be $164,345 for this upcoming year.
Rep. Hill readily points out that this bill is similar to the successful County Bridge Relief Act that he endorsed in that it would offer direct assistance to Johnson County that is much needed to supplement ongoing road and bridge repairs. He states that by all indications the bill carries tremendous bipartisan support. He fully expects it to pass in a matter of weeks. Hill also points out that this is not a one-time grant. This is ongoing with a permanent two percent match requirement in place. He says he will work until this legislation is passed and the counties have access to the needed funds.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.