Welcome to SARPC's digital newsletter. Our goal is to publish a newsletter once a month that provides highlights of projects and activities being undertaken at the agency. If you have any questions or would like to request additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In This Issue


On behalf of SARPC, I would like to congratulate  Dr. Jackie Zeigler on becoming our regions State Board of Education representative and SARPC's newest board member. 

Other new SARPC Board Members include:
Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood
Baldwin County Commissioner Chris Elliott
Prichard Mayor Jimmy Gardner
Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson
We look forward to working with you and will see you at our  SARPC Board Meeting on Wednesday, March 22nd. 

John F." Rickey" Rhodes

SARPC Executive Director John F. "Rickey" Rhodes (far right) meeting with Gov. Robert Bentley, ADECA Director Jim Byard and other Alabama Regional Planning Commission ED's recently in the Governor's office in Montgomery. 

The Mobile MPO Policy Board will meet on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10:00 am at the GM&O Building in the Board Room at 110 Beauregard Street.  The purpose of the meeting is to approve the modification of the 25 year Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and the 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to create a funding program for the Congestion Management Process (CMP).  The CMP will be funded through the Mobile MPO and will be for intersection type improvements that aim towards alleviating congestion. The program will be an annual federal funding amount of $500,000.  In order to accommodate this program, a large interchange at Airport Blvd and McGregor Ave will be removed from the LRTP.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting

The Mobile MPO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) met recently. Mr. Vince Calametti, the chief engineer with the ALDOT Southwest Regional Office gave an update on the proposed I-10 Mobile River Bridge. The meeting also included a discussion about several projects in the MPO area that have bike/ped components, including  the City of Mobile's Broad/Beauregard Street TIGER project, the Water St. project, the road diet on Springhill Ave., Schillinger Blvd., and Zeigler Blvd. Recent crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians were also discussed. The minutes of the meeting are being transcribed and will be posted on the BPAC webpage soon.

3-C Agreement To Be Updated

To all members of the Mobile MPO, we have to update our 3-C agreement.  This is the agreement between SARPC, ALDOT, the WAVE Transit, the eight Urban Area cities and Mobile County that actually creates the Mobile MPO.  In order to execute this agreement, we will need a resolution from Mobile County and each city in the next month or so.  If you are a new mayor, your staff is familiar with this as we did this last Spring.  Because there is a new federal transportation act "the FAST ACT", the language has changed and we must update the agreement.  We sent notifications last week to each MPO member.  Please call Kevin if there are any questions.

Performance Measures

On January 18, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)  published in the Federal Register final rules for the last two national performance management measure regulations. One rule establishes regulations to assess the condition and performance of bridges on the National Highway System (NHS) and of pavements on the Interstate and non-Interstate NHS. The other establishes regulations to assess the performance of the NHS, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program.  All MPOs will have 6 months after each State finalizes their state Performance Measures.  The performance measures used by the Mobile MPO, and the Eastern Shore MPO will be discussed at length in the next several months, and the topic is on the agenda at the Alabama Transportation Planners Association Conference (ATPA) March 23-24 in Florence, AL

Grant Opportunities
Recent grant opportunities that have been announced which may be of interest to you and your regional stakeholders include:

$1 Billion in EPA loans now available through the Water and Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA announced the availability of approximately $1 billion in credit assistance for water infrastructure projects under the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. This financing will help support approximately $2 billion in total infrastructure investment. EPA's WIFIA program will provide long-term, low-cost credit assistance in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees to creditworthy water projects. WIFIA provides another option for financing large infrastructure projects - generally at least $20 million - in addition to the State Revolving Funds and bond market. WIFIA is available to state, local, and tribal governments; private entities; partnerships; and State Revolving Fund programs.
Prospective borrowers may submit letters of interest from January 10, 2017 until midnight on April 10, 2017. For more information,  Click here.

NSF Funding for STEM + Computing Partnerships
The National Science Foundation has announced the availability of $49,895,000 to support approximately 25 to 35 grants under STEM + Computing Partnerships (STEM+C). The STEM+C program seeks to build evidence to inform development of new pedagogical strategies and pedagogical environments for integrating computing and computational thinking in the teaching and learning of pre-K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and/or to integrate science, mathematics, and engineering in the applied teaching and learning of computer science in pre-K-12 education.
Proposals are due by March 29, 2017. For more information, please visit Click here for more information.
Department of Agriculture invites applications for the Rural Broadband Access Loans and Loan Guarantees Program
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces that it is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2017 for the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program (the Broadband Program). The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program (Broadband Program) furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed in eligible rural areas.
There will be two application windows for FY 2017. The first application submission will be from March 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017  and the second application window will be from September 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017 . All applications can only be submitted through  RD Apply online application system.
Department of Agriculture invites applications for Technical Assistance grants for Rural Transportation Systems
The Department of Agriculture invites applications for grants to provide technical assistance for Rural Transportation (RT) systems under the Rural Business Development Grant (RDBG) program for fiscal year 2017.
Completed applications must be received in the USDA Rural Development State Office no later than 4:30 p.m. (local time) on March 31, 2017. For more information,  please go to  the application webpage.
Department of Agriculture invites applications for REDLG Grants and Loans
The Department of Agriculture invites applications for grants under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Programs for fiscal year 2017. The REDLG programs may include business startup costs, business expansion, business incubators, technical assistance feasibility studies, advanced telecommunications services and computer networks for medical, educational, and job training services, and community facilities projects.
The deadlines for completed applications to be received in the USDA Rural  Development State Offices no later than 4:30 p.m. (local time) are: Third Quarter, March 31, 2017 ; and Fourth Quarter, June 30, 2017 . For more information,  click here.

NOAA Announces $15 Million for Coastal Resilience Grants Program

The objective of the NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants program, jointly administered by NOAA's National Ocean Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, is to implement projects that build resilient U.S. coastal communities, economies and ecosystems. This program is intended to build resilience by reducing the risk to coastal communities, economies and ecosystems from extreme weather events and climate-related hazards. Projects that build resilience include activities that protect life and property, safeguard people and infrastructure, strengthen the economy, and/or conserve and restore coastal and marine resources. The NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants Program will support two categories of activities:
  • Strengthening Coastal Communities: activities that improve capacity of multiple coastal jurisdictions (states, counties, municipalities, territories and tribes) to prepare and plan for, absorb impacts of, recover from, and/or adapt to extreme weather events and climate-related hazards; or
  • Habitat Restoration: activities that restore habitat to strengthen the resilience of coastal ecosystems and decrease the vulnerability of coastal communities to extreme weather events and climate-related hazards.
Closes March 15, 2017.
See www.grants.gov ( NOAA-NOS-NRPO-2017-2005159)
USDA Announces $18.9 Million to Support Agricultural Education at 1890s Land-Grant Institutions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced $18.9 million in funding for eligible 1890 land-grant colleges and universities to obtain or improve agricultural and food sciences facilities and equipment. The 1890 Facilities Grant Program helps the eligible institutions educate the future workforce in the food, agricultural and human sciences job sectors.
Closes March 21, 2017 See  the   request for applications   on the NIFA 1890s Facilities Grants Program web page for more information.
U.S. Conference of Mayors, Wells Fargo Announce 2017 CommunityWINS Grant Program

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Wells Fargo today (January 17) announced a call for nominations for the 2017 CommunityWINS  grant program, aimed at accelerating neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and job creation in municipalities across the country.
Launched in 2015, the CommunityWINS grant program includes a $3 million investment by the Wells Fargo Foundation over three years. CommunityWINS grant program is administered by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Through a competitive application process, the USCM will determine eligibility and administer grant funds to eligible nonprofits in six cities to support neighborhood revitalization, economic development and job creation initiatives. USCM member cities can nominate up to three eligible nonprofit initiatives or programs that address one of the following categories:
  • Neighborhood stabilization - projects designed to stimulate growth and stability while assisting in the removal of blight and the rebuilding of neighborhoods.
  • Economic development - projects designed to promote business development.
  • Job creation - projects designed to aid in local job creation or assist in job training.
Grant requirements, application details, application checklists, and the online application forms are available now at usmayors.org/communitywins . Applications must be submitted by  March 17, 2017 .
Upcoming webinars and conferences that may be of interest to you and your stakeholders include:

50th Annual Georgia Tech Basic Economic Development Course
This year's conference will take place in Atlanta on March 21-24, 2017 and will expose you to cutting-edge economic development trends that will help your community build for the future. Educating participants in the fundamentals and emerging concepts of comprehensive economic development is just a part of this year's celebration. Topics that will be covered include: business retention and expansion, workforce and community development, economic development finance, and managing an economic development organization, among others.  For more information and to register .

International Economic Development Council's 2017 FED Forum
Join IEDC as FED Forum returns to the Nation's Capital, Washington, D.C. on April 9-11, 2017, to address federal economic policy and programs. For decades, IEDC has held this event to ensure professionals have the information they need to promote and inform their agenda for economic growth and jobs in their communities. This conference is a single, one-stop shop opportunity to learn about current and coming trends in federal economic policy and engage directly with policymakers, thought leaders and peers, and more.  For more information and to register.

Hope Global Forums 2017 Annual Meeting
The HOPE Global Forums are a community designed to galvanize thought and action around building an economy that works for everyone. With the theme "Uplifting the Invisible Class", the 2017 Annual Meeting, which takes place in Atlanta on April 10-12, 2017, will challenge participants to outline a vision for a new, global economy - where the poor, underserved and dislocated middle class are viewed as untapped assets for entrepreneurship, job creation and economic growth. The "Invisible Class" will be examined in six tracks: The Identity Class, The Working Class, The Generational Class, The Self-Sufficiency Class, The Aspirational Class and the Excluded Class. Attendees will be challenged to generate "5 Big Ideas" around Working Group topics that will serve as a blueprint for action.  For more information and to register .

19th Annual Business Expo & Job Fair (BEJF)

Mark your calendars for May 11 to attend the 19th Annual Business Expo & Job Fair at The Grounds (Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds-Mobile, Alabama).  We anticipate this will be the best event to date with over 100 businesses attending and over 2,500 visitors to their booths looking for products and services and, of course jobs.  Last year, over 300 individuals acquired employment, as a direct result of attending this event. Organizations, which attended reported how it was a great venue for finding qualified candidates while at the same time securing new customers.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
The Senior Community Service Employment Program assigns eligible participants who match the income guidelines to Host Agencies to provide them the opportunity to gain on-the-job training/work experience.  Participants are paid a stipend of $7.25 per hour for the community service they provide to the host agency they are assigned to.  The experience they gain at the host agency will result in the participant becoming more marketable.  Becoming more marketable can result in them acquiring an unsubsidized job.  The goal of the program is to move participants off the program and into unsubsidized employment.
At the quarterly meeting held on February 15, a Human Resource Senior Recruiter from Home Instead came to share information regarding the jobs they offer and the skills needed.  At the end, the recruiter offered interviews to interested participants.  

Mature Staffing Service (MSS)

If you have staffing needs, then Mature Staffing Service (MSS) would like the opportunity to assist you.
MSS provides staffing services to government and non-profit organizations.  Whether the organization is searching for part-time temporary workers or full-time permanent workers, Mature Staffing Service is there to make the process seamless. 
Is it getting hard for you to squeeze in the time to process your payroll because there are so many other issues requiring your attention?  Let us lighten your load by handling all payroll processing such as:  worker's compensation, all payroll taxes, and direct deposit. 
You owe it to yourself to find out how Mature Staffing Service can help.  Call (251) 652-0585 today.

Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)

The Revolving Loan Fund is a source of capital available to entrepreneurs for start-up businesses or existing businesses.
The Revolving Loan Fund can be used for the purchase of property and buildings, equipment, and working capital needs.  The loan limits are $10,000 to $125,000.  The purpose of the RLF funds is to assist small businesses in their capital needs and to create and sustain jobs in the communities it serves. 
Let us know about your loan request today by calling (251) 652-0585.  We want to stand in the gap for you.


The Area Agency on Aging presents Caregiver College

Area Agency on Aging reaching seniors in need through Facebook Ads
The Area Agency on Aging was chosen by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) for a digital campaign to reach older adults and adults with disabilities through social networks such as Facebook and digital media. SARPC has partnered with the NCOA since 2009 to help lower income older adults and persons with disability achieve economic security through access to available public and private benefits they may be entitled to receive but are not receiving. NCOA will pilot  methods to reach eligible seniors to determine the most effective and efficient outreach methods. SARPC was chosen for a campaign in its region with the pilot running from February to June 2017. Those reached will be directed to our Aging and Disability Resource Center for assistance. Seniors needing assistance applying for this benefit or other benefits can contract the Area Agency on Aging at 706-4680.

Legacy Leadership Institute for Older Adults begins March 27

If you think you may want to volunteer but are unsure which direction you want to go, consider attending the Area Agency on Aging's free Legacy Leadership Institute for Older Adults to be held March 27-31, 2017. This one week program held on the campus of the University of South Alabama utilizes faculty and visiting speakers to educate attendees on aging issues and impactful volunteering. It is designed to help retired professionals and baby boomers find their niche in the world of volunteering among opportunities at the Area Agency on Aging and in their local communities.

Persons interested in volunteering and agencies needing volunteers are encourage to call Charles Smith, Area Agency on Aging at 251-236-3881 or 251-867-0256. Applications are requested by March 17th but slots are limited so early applications are encouraged.

Candidates sought for Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature

Pictured are some of the local members of South Alabama's District 8 delegation who attended the Annual Alabama Silver Haired Legislature Session at the Alabama State House in Montgomery October 24-26.

Members get "real-life experience" in state government

Local Area Agencies on Aging are now accepting applications for the  May 2, 2017  elections to the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature.  According to Julie McGee, Area Agency on Aging Director of the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, "Membership gives Alabama's seniors a real-life experience in representing the interests of older Alabamians in state government."
The Silver-Haired Legislature is a model, volunteer legislature that parallels the Alabama House of Representatives. Members represent each of the 105 state legislative districts and are elected by other senior citizens from their districts.
Alabamians age 60 and over are encouraged to sign up by filing an application.  Applications for districts in Mobile, Baldwin and Mobile counties must be received by April 1, 2017.  Applications are available at the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission at the GM&O building in Mobile or by calling 706-4680 or 1-800-243-5463.
Members elected to 2017-2019 terms will meet in Montgomery in August for an organization and training session. The ASHL annual legislative session is held in the State House each fall.
ASHL members are expected to be aware of the needs of seniors in their districts that should be addressed by the Alabama Legislature. Resolutions on senior issues are introduced in the ASHL legislative session, prioritized and presented to members of the legislature for consideration and legislation. Members then work with their counterparts in the State Legislature to get senior bills introduced and passed.
Among ASHL resolutions that have made it into law are the SeniorRx program to help senior citizens with applications for low cost prescriptions; recycling leftover prescriptions; voter ID; Landlord-Tenant Act, criminalizing home repair fraud, and stronger laws on identify theft.
Top issues that the ASHL is asking the State Legislature to address in the session which began in January 2017 are:

  1.    Increase monthly personal needs allowance of Medicaid nursing home residents
  2.    Abolish predatory payday lending businesses
  3.    Fund transportation for seniors in rural areas and small municipalities
  4.    Provide dental coverage for seniors through Medicaid and Medicare
  5.    Increase allowable income for the over 65 homestead exemption
  6.    Provide funding to purchase food and supplies for Meals on Wheels programs
  7.    Perpetuate exemption of retirement income from State income taxes
  8.    Allocate a portion of lottery money to AAAs
  9.    Provide transportation for seniors to dialysis centers
10.    Maintain existing funding for ADSS and AAA programs

Aging and Disability Resource Center has a new phone number.

Notice a change when you call SARPC to reach the Area Agency on Aging? Our 1-800-AGE-LINE now directly connects to our Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and centralizes intake for all aging and disability programs. The direct line is 706-4680. If you need  "Answers on Aging" give us a call! 


The new location for the Baldwin County "Welcome to Medicare" monthly seminar is at the Spanish Fort Community Center and is held the 2nd  Wednesday  of each month.  The new location in Escambia County is the Atmore Community Hospital and is held the first  Monday  of every month. 

In Mobile the monthly seminars continue at SARPC's office in the GM&O building the 1st Tuesday of each month. Welcome to Medicare seminars are held in Mobile and Baldwin County from 9am  until noon and Escambia County 10am-11:30am .  For additional information, contact James Roberson at 706-4617.

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