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STATEHOUSE – Newton County and the Town of Kentland were recently awarded more than $1.3 million in state matching grants to accelerate road and bridge improvements, according to State Reps. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) and Sharon Negele (R-Attica).

Nearly $100 million was awarded to Indiana cities, towns and counties through the Community Crossings Matching Grant program, which is now in its fourth year. The grants are made available through the Indiana Department of Transportation as a result of a law Gutwein and Negele supported in 2016, and funded through the state budget.

“Over the last few years, Indiana has made significant investments to improve our roads and bridges across the state,” Gutwein said. “As a result, we were recently ranked first in the country for infrastructure. We will continue to work to improve our roads and communities, and build for the future.”

As part of the program, Newton County received $1 million, and the town of Kentland received $302,260 for local road projects.

Negele said grant funding can be used toward road and bridge preservation, road reconstruction, intersection improvements, guardrail replacements and signage. Smaller municipalities must provide a match of 25% in local funds, while large communities must provide a 50% match.

Newton County plans on using the grant money for a complete reconstruction of County Road 500 E and widening the intersection of 500 E and 700 N.

The Newton County Highway Department, which secured the grant, says the total project is estimated at around $2 million.

The Town of Kentland is planning on using the grant funds to pave some more streets in town like they did this year, according to Town Manager T.J. Firkins.

“The Community Crossings program is an incredible opportunity for communities throughout the entire state to take action on road projects they may not otherwise have the funds for,” Negele said. “Our infrastructure requires constant upkeep, and through this local and state partnership, the unique needs of our cities and towns can be met.”

Since 2017, state road investment is up 50% as Indiana has dedicated $3 billion to road and bridge projects across the state.