Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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May 1, 2013

State dollars to aid counties' roadwork

Areas with flat budget thankful for additional funding.

After several years of watching the available dollars for road maintenance dwindle, local counties are thankful for the relief being provided by the state.

The Indiana General Assembly in the approved 2014-15 fiscal year budget provided $136 million to counties for roadwork.

Howard County is slated to receive an additional $755,167 in each of the next two years.

“We will do more paving,” Ted Cain, superintendent of the Howard County Highway Department, said Monday. “Hopefully we can get a few more miles done.”

The cost to pave a mile of county road surpasses $60,000, he said.

“It helps,” Cain said of state funding for roads. “I’m surprised they haven’t provided additional money before now. A few years ago we did get some additional funding, and we used those funds to get the roads in good shape.”

Cain said decisions on how exactly to spend the money will depend largely on the county’s financial position at the end of the year. He said the impact of annexation by the city of Kokomo on county highway funds is unknown.

“It will be used on the roads, that’s where it belongs,” he said.

Some funds will be distributed after July 1 this year and the remainder over the next 18 months.

Tipton County is expected to receive $417,637 in each of the next two years.

Highway Superintendent Bret Morris said the money will be used to maintain roads.

“The biggest part will go into our chip and seal program,” he said. “We’ll get to things we haven’t gotten to in the past.”

Morris said Tipton County might pave short sections of county roads.

“I just hope they don’t take money away in another area,” he said.

The Miami County Highway Department will receive an additional $614,520 each year.

Highway Superintendent Sam Waltz said the more than 35 percent increase is a huge boost for the county, which has struggled to keep up with road maintenance.

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