While Cullman County recently received federal funding for the expansion of County Road 222, it was far less than what government officials had expected.

According to a press release from the office of Rep. Robert Aderholt, Cullman County will receive $285,000 from the fiscal year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.

County Commission Chairman James Graves said the commission had requested approximately $1 million to cover unforeseen costs of the County Road 222 expansion project.

“It cost quite a bit more than what we thought,” Graves said. “What we had requested was reimbursement. We don’t know where that figure ($285,000) came from. It was totally out of the blue.”

Darrell Jordan, communications director for Aderholt’s office, said the congressman had worked very hard to secure funding for the expansion in this year’s federal budget.

“However, a lesser amount was chosen by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee for this project than we had hoped,” Jordan said. “In an effort to meet a budget goal for the Transportation, HUD and Related Agencies Bill, the Appropriations Committee chairman made many cuts in the area of transportation projects across Alabama and the entire nation. We (Aderholt’s office) had nothing to do with what was finally awarded.”

Graves said he planned to contact Aderholt’s office soon, to see if more money could be added to the already allocated funding.

“If not, we have enough time to send for another appropriation for next year for the other $700,000,” Graves said.

The $3.7 million 2-mile expansion project, which extends from Alabama Highway 69 to Interstate 65, was part of an incentive package given to industries located at Industrial Park 3. With the expanded roadway, trucks will have an easier time transporting products to and from the industries.

Alabama Department of Transportation officials expect the expansion project to be completed this summer.

Once the expansion is completed, construction work should then begin on an interchange for County Road 222 and Interstate 65. The interchange is scheduled for completion in 2010.

Aderholt has worked to secure more than $5 million for transportation projects in Cullman County over the past six years, much of which has been for the interchange.

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