Gov. Nathan Deal last week announced that the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) awarded approximately $18.1 million in funding for 19 transportation infrastructure projects across the state through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB). The City of Thomasville was one of the recipients, with an award of $446,899.30 for upgrades to South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
“The grant will be used to create a new multi-use trail along South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive,” said Eve Geyer, Project Manager and the author of the successful grant application. “The new trail section will extend along Varnedoe Street and connect to Balfour Park along South Pinetree Boulevard. Funding will also be used to resurface South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and realign the intersection at West Jackson Street.”
Ultimately, the work along South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive will improve mobility options, reduce cut-through traffic and improve safety, said Geyer.
“This is an area of town where people travel not only by car, but also by walking and bicycling,” she said. “These improvements will mean that all of our citizens can travel safely through this area.”
Since its inception in 2009, GTIB has awarded more than $124 million in grants and loans to highly competitive transportation projects to enhance mobility in local communities throughout Georgia.
“The 19 project awards this week join with the 80 awards made since the program began,” SRTA Executive Director Chris Tomlinson said. “Together, the various projects funded through this program have brought innovative and much-needed transportation improvements to the local communities who have identified and prioritized these needs. SRTA is proud to partner with the applicants to provide critical funding to move these projects toward completion. Today’s awards leverage $18.1 million in state funding to enable projects with a total value of $136.1 million to become reality. This represents a better than 7-to-1 ratio of other funds to GTIB funds. That’s what I call a good return on investment.”
“Eve Geyer’s initiative to research this grant opportunity and submit a strong and ultimately successful grant application was an outstanding display of our Team Thomasville spirit of innovation,” said Kha McDonald, Interim City Manager. “This grant will make it possible for the City of Thomasville to provide some much-needed improvements to the South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive area.”
SRTA received 32 applications from eligible local government entities in Georgia, including community improvement districts. Funds distributed by GTIB must be used for capital expenses related to road and bridge infrastructure work.
“I’m very excited that the City’s grant was selected for funding,” said Geyer. “Our application was evaluated on a competitive basis. The criteria include transportation/engineering merit, economic merit, matching funds and project specifics, such as the project phase and feasibility.”
Work is anticipated to begin in the South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive area later this year.