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Tippecanoe Co Highway Dept seeking additional funds

Tippecanoe County began the year with roughly $7.5 million in uncommitted funds. That was more than expected when the budget was finalized last fall.

Now, the head of the Tippecanoe County Highway Department is requesting $2.9 million of that to get caught up on some road projects.

Opal Kuhl says there’s a backlog of work, because of reduced funding the past several years.

“For example, we were spending about $1 million a year rehabbing bridges. We’re down to about $100,000 a year,” she says. “Same thing for culvert rehab, we’ve been budgeting about $1 million a year and now we’re down to about $500,000 a year.”

Kuhl says over the last seven years, highway department funding is down about 25%. She says her budget has been stretched thin more recently, because of two large projects.

“We did the Lindberg Bridge project, which was $4.5 million, and then we did the reimbursement on U.S. 231, which was $6.5 million. So, those took a big chunk out of our project money.”

She says the $2.9 million request would cover the cost of replacing two bridges and three large culverts as well as work on ditches and sidewalks. It also would pay for some new equipment.

The county council is considering the request. In January, council members talked about using the extra cash for highway projects, the courts, or putting it in the Rainy Day Fund.

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