JONESBORO — The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday announced nearly $1 billion in grants through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grants program.
Though the city applied, Jonesboro’s wasn’t on the list of 90 projects in 47 states that received approval of the massive grants.
However, Bill Campbell, the city’s communications director, local officials aren’t discouraged.
“We have been told by our D.C.delegation it’s not common to receive this funding the first time around but that it was a wonderfully crafted grant,” Campbell said.
In addition to the congressional delegation from Arkansas, the proposal had the support of Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Democratic former Gov. Mike Beebe, and numerous other state and local leaders, plus at least one congressman from another state.
Jonesboro, in partnership with Arkansas State University sought $20 million under the program.
The transportation discretionary grants are for planning and capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and were awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact, DOT said in its news release.
The local application proposed 26 miles of multi-use trails featuring cutting edge designs with rest areas, maps, emergency connections and WiFi hotspots in some of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the city. While providing exercise opportunities, the plan also addressed chronic flooding issues and even featured added opportunities to honor the area’s veterans.
Only a few states were awarded more than one project. In Arkansas, the state’s Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism was awarded $20,482,208 to construct the final 13.4-mile section of the southeast Arkansas trail, south of Helena-West Helena.
“We feel that this proposal is strong enough and that our congressional delegation and state leaders believe in it and want to help Jonesboro so much that it’s only a matter of time until we see some significant financial assistance for this project,” Campbell said.