The intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways is seen on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file photo)

The intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways is seen on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file photo)

Borough to use federal funds for street safety

The funds were made available through the Safe Streets and Roads for All program

The Kenai Peninsula Borough plans to use about $1.2 million to develop a boroughwide action plan to create safer streets in peninsula communities. The borough assembly last week gave initial approval to legislation that would accept and assign the money to the project.

The funds were made available through the Safe Streets and Roads for All program, which was established through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act under the U.S. Department of Transportation. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the program funds regional, local and tribal initiatives aimed at preventing death and serious injuries on roads.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Community & Fiscal Projects Manager Rachel Chaffee wrote in a March 2 memo to assembly members that all of the participating borough cities have committed to providing a funding match. The amount of money cities contribute was calculated using the number of road miles in their boundaries and the total population in each area, Chaffee wrote.

Development of the safety plan is expected to take two years, with the total cost estimated to be $1.2 million. With a 20% local match, Kenai Peninsula Borough communities will be on the hook for $240,000, Chaffee wrote. About $60,000 of the matching funds will be provided through in-kind services.

Per the U.S. Department of Transportation, $144,000 — about 15% of funds — will go toward 8,770 “underserved” borough residents. Underserved communities may include people that are disadvantaged when it comes to areas like transportation, health, the environment or the economy, per the department.

“Development of an approved and qualified safety action plan will better position the Kenai Peninsula Borough (Borough) and the Cities to pursue further grant opportunities in the future,” Chaffee wrote. “It will also support the improvement of long term road safety.”

A hearing and final vote on the legislation is scheduled for the assembly’s April 4 meeting.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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