Corinth scrambles for an alternate road projects plan

CORINTH – City officials are trying to figure out how to make up a half million-dollar hole created in the city’s budget for major road projects after the federal government reclaimed amounts already awarded to the city.
The Surface Transportation Program was set to expire Sept. 30 anyway, Planning and Development Director Dave Huwe told board members Tuesday. However, even though the city couldn’t count on funding of future projects, it was totally unexpected that about $320,000 which the city had accumulated from prior years, and about $222,000 expected this year, would be taken back.
Mississippi Transportation Director Larry “Butch” Brown said in a letter written last week to cities across the state that the U.S. Department was reclaiming more than $8.7 billion nationally of various federal highway funds that not been already committed in contracts. Of that amount Mississippi lost about $103 million in 13 programs.
Cities with less than 200,000 population were qualified to apply for the Surface Transportation Program and had three years to use any funds awarded. STP funds could be used for a variety of projects, including constructing new streets or widening, improving or reconstructing existing streets.
The city specifically counted on the funds to help pay for the widening of Droke Road where the new elementary school is being built. Droke Road is a narrow, two-lane street with no shoulders, and plans are under way to widen it to three lanes to accommodate buses and other traffic to the school.

Lena Mitchel/NEMS Daily Journal