October 4, 2016 4:00 PM, EDT

Rural Indiana Counties Split $80 Million in Federal Transportation Grants

Daniel Oines/Flicker

Indiana officials in Pike, Greene and Knox Counties will be cashing in on millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements funded through federal transportation funds. The Indiana Department of Transportation announced the grants will go to 64 cities, towns and counties in rural Indiana, and will total $80 million.

"Over the last decade, Indiana has demonstrated a commitment to investing in infrastructure that is nearly unmatched," said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb. "Modern roads and bridges keep commerce moving at the speed of the 21st century economy and sidewalks and trails help created the sense of place that sparks vibrant communities, which attract businesses and talent to the Hoosier state."

INDOT set aside a portion of the funds, approximately $5 million, to improve sidewalks. The new sidewalk program for smaller communities is part of INDOT's "Common Paths" initiative. Also, INDOT is investing $2.5 million each year for improving crosswalks and other sidewalk infrastructure along state highways in rural and urban communities.

Daviess County submitted no projects for funding in this cycle. The Daviess County Highway Department had recommended the county apply for funds to upgrade CR 350E. The plan was to widen the roadway and improve the intersection with U.S. 50, in anticipation of potential economic growth in the area. The Daviess County Council declined to provide funding for the 20% matching funds, and put a stop to the proposal.

Other counties in the area will be collecting some of the federal dollars for projects. Under road projects, Pike County will receive $1.6 million for a rehabilitation project on CR 350N. The city of Petersburg will get $1,447,372 for Main Street pedestrian facilities and streetscape from trails/enhancement funding.

A bridge project will send $1,520,000 to Knox County. While the city of Vincennes will get $2,192,000 for reconstruction of Main Street under the roads projects.

Trails enhancement funding totaling $495,200 was approved for pedestrian and bike paths in Linton, and Greene County will receive $939,200 for a bridge replacement.

The call for projects for the federal funding for roads and bridges is the first in several years in Indiana. The program is the same one being used by Daviess County to widen and expand CR 900E.