BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — The Alabama Department of Transportation is now ready to submit its official application for the Mega Grant Tuesday, the next step in a long process of alleviating traffic congestion across Mobile Bay.
“ALDOT, we don’t know the exact figure that they’re going to ask for, but they’re going to make a reasonable ask so that we have a reasonable chance receiving some federal funds,” said Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization Chairman Jack Burrell.
There’s $5 billion up for grabs nationwide that’s part of a new Mega Grant program through President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package. ALDOT introduced the grant application to MPO members in a special called meeting Tuesday morning, but how much of that grant money could be awarded is still a big question.
“I believe you heard the number $250 million to $500 million. I can’t say that it will be in that neighborhood, but it won’t be $2.1 billion. We’re not going to have an unreasonable ask. I think we can all agree that would be unreasonable,” said Burrell.
He says the best bet was to go ahead and submit the application before the deadline later this month. If the application is denied, the board will search for additional funding elsewhere, he says.
“There’s no guarantee that we’re going to receive any of this money, but you certainly don’t get it if you don’t apply for it,” he added.
The Mega Grant, also known as the National Infrastructure Project Assistance program, will support large transportation projects that are difficult to fund.
$125 million in federal funding has been secured already for the project and the state is anticipated to fund at least $250 million. The framework for the new bridge was introduced back in December with a toll option not to exceed $2.50. That framework would still include a toll-free route on the existing causeway. There’s no timeframe as to when the Mega Grant application could be approved.
More information on the framework will likely be introduced in June.