Borough gets nearly $1 million for road safety

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is receiving nearly $1 million from the federal government to create a plan for safer transportation across the peninsula.

The money comes from the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill and is part of a grant program called Safe Streets and Roads for All, which the U.S. Department of Transportation announced today. A total of 510 projects will be funded, aimed at preventing deaths and serious injuries on roads.

“Under this federal administration, they have introduced a new initiative that has the goal of aiming for zero deaths. Zero fatalities related to our transportation,” said Robert Ruffner, the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s director of planning.

He said the district was already exploring creating a more comprehensive road safety plan when the funding opportunity arose last summer. Ruffner learned that municipalities with formal safety concepts are opening up for more federal trunk road funding.

“We went to all the municipalities in the district and let them know that this possibility existed, and we all sat down several times and came up with a proposal that addressed all the criteria that the Federal Roads Office was looking for,” Ruffner said.

The planning department determined how much it would cost to make roads safer throughout the county, came up with a total of $960,000 and submitted the application. Ruffner said they found out yesterday, Jan. 31, that they had received the grant.

Ruffner said the funding will be used to hire a consultant to assess safety on the county’s roads, help compile an inventory of all roads and trails in the county, and assess traffic flow in and out of schools.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s already a big deal to win an award of this size, so stay tuned as we start developing the plans,” Ruffner said.

The Biden-Harris administration is distributing more than $800 million statewide through this grant program, of which about $2.6 million goes to Alaska. Other Alaska Scholars include the City and County of Sitka, the County of Mat-Su, and the City and County of Juneau.

The price of the Kenai Peninsula is much greater than other areas in Alaska. Ruffner suspects that all municipalities in the district worked on the request instead of submitting individual applications.

“It’s going to be a good, collaborative exercise to work with everyone on the peninsula,” Ruffner said.

The county and cities are also required to provide a $300,000 grant for funding. Ruffner said the match will be split between communities based on the proportion of roadway in each area and the number of accidents.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

| |
Back to top button