09/03/10 — Feds say 'no' to city's bid for grant

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Feds say 'no' to city's bid for grant

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 3, 2010 1:46 PM

The city of Goldsboro's pre-application for federal funds to pay the cost of realigning Central Heights Road at Royall Avenue has been rejected -- not because the project costs too much, but because its total cost of $8 million failed to meet the minimum $10 million threshold required to be eligible for funding.

The Central Heights-Royall Avenue project, currently only in the conceptual stage, would remove the "zigzag" that motorists now have to make to cross Berkeley Boulevard on those two roads.

The second part of the city's application, this one for $27.2 million for Section BB of the U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass, does meet the requirements.

However, it is a nationwide competition for a "small amount" of money, said Jerry Page of the state Department of Transportation's Division 4 office in Wilson. Division 4 includes Wayne County.

"But there is one thing, if you don't ask, you sure won't get it," Page said.

The funding is being sought through the federal TIGER II (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grants Program. To qualify, a project could cost no less than $10 million and no more than $200 million.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will evaluate all applications and announce the projects that have been selected sometime after Sept. 15.

Both city projects were endorsed by the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.

During the MPO's August meeting, members were told that there is only a "very remote chance" of being funded under this program. The grants may be used for up to 80 percent of the costs of a project.

However, it is possible that the state DOT is willing to pay the required local match of $6.8 million.

The U.S. 70 Bypass is being built in four sections and eventually will span the county from N.C. 581 to Promise Road at the Wayne-Lenoir county line.

The bypass is part of a planned four-lane divided highway from Clayton to the coast. The local overall bypass project is expected to cost about $234 million.

Work started Sept. 29 on the $65.3 million first leg of the project being constructed by Barnhill Contracting Co. of Tarboro. The completion date is November 2011.

That section stretches from near Salem Church Road near Interstate 795 to just east of Wayne Memorial Drive.

The other three phases are:

* Section A from existing U.S. 70 west of N.C. 581 to Interstate 795, construction expected to cost $73 million.

* Section BB from Wayne Memorial Drive and the new U.S. 70 Bypass to east of Parkstown Road, construction expected to cost $39 million.

* Section C from east of Parkstown Road to U.S. 70 at Promise Lane Road near LaGrange, construction expected to cost $57 million.

It is a drawn out timetable that doesn't have the road done until after 2035.