Welcome to SARPC's digital newsletter. Our goal is to publish a newsletter bi-monthly 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








As year 2020 is coming to a close it will be considered one for the ages. With all the challenges we have faced in our Region your SARPC staff has met them head on, stepped up to the plate and continued to provide and even expand programs and services to our Citizens.
I want to thank all of our outgoing elected officials for their service and for supporting SARPC as you have. THANK YOU!!!!!
And to the newly elected officials in our Region we congratulate you and look forward to acclimating you to the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission as we serve our 32 member Governments.
In closing, I trust that each of you had a safe and HAPPY THANKSGIVING as we all realize that we have so much to be thankful for in South Alabama!!!
John F. (Rickey) Rhodes
Executive Director

Mobile MPO Updates

The Mobile MPO has 6 new members:

Councilman, City of Prichard Hon. George McCall, Jr. 
Mayor, City of Chickasaw- Hon. Barry Broadhead
Mayor, City of Satsuma- Hon. Mark Barlow
Mayor, City of Creola- Hon. Don Nelson
Mayor, City of Bayou La Batre- Hon. Henry Barnes, Sr.
Mayor, City of Semmes- Hon. Brandon Vanhook

To Councilman Lorenzo Martin of Prichard, Mayor Byron Pittman of Chickasaw, Mayor Thomas Williams of Satsuma, Mayor William Criswell of Creola, Mayor Terry Downey of Bayou la Batre, and Mayor David Baker of Semmes- Thank you. Thank you for participation in not just the Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organization, but the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission as well. Your passion for your communities is not unnoticed, and it has been a pleasure to work with each one of you. We are always here if you ever need anything from SARPC.  

RPO Updates

The South Alabama Rural Planning Organization (RPO) met last month using the GoToMeeting app. The agenda included:

  • Adoption of the minutes of the previous meeting (these will be sent out soon)
  • Review and adoption of the Fiscal Year 2021 Work Program (available for review online at: HERE
  • Review and adoption of the Fiscal Years 2020-2023 Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan (available for review online at: HERE

The RPO Transportation Plan Project List (available for review online at http://www.mobilempo.org/RPODocuments.html SARPC Rural Planning Organization

Mobile Area Transit System Feasibility Study

VIA and its sub-consultant, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, have completed The MOBILE AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM FEASIBILITY STUDY REPORT

There was a presentation by VIA at the Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan public meeting on October 1, and a stakeholder meeting several weeks ago concerning the study. VIA presentation potential types of operators and potential operating budget is HERE. A big challenge is going to the local community support and matching funds.
The current health crisis has affected the potential outcome of the study. The intent of the study was to find potential local sponsors to match federal funds to create a transit system to operate throughout Mobile County to connect with WAVE Transit. The sponsors would have provided assistance through subscriptions or contracts for commuter trips. The current price of gasoline, and the threat of contracting virus on buses, may put a strain on ridership of a new system. However, there are still people in need of transportation, and there is some thought that regardless of the price of gasoline, there will be an increased number of distressed people due to the economy, that will need transportation. This may be the perfect time to consider transportation throughout Mobile County. 

All documents pertaining to his study are  HERE. 

The LRTP is multimodal in scope, and is based on public input, and a travel demand forecast model. In 2019, an online survey was conducted with almost 150 respondents. Questions ranged from where is the worst congestion, what roads need improvements, problems with the transit systems, etc. There were a lot of comments about the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and the potential for tolls. Prior to the online survey, staff also conducted a South Alabama Freight Forum, which was an opportunity to hear from large manufacturers and trucking companies, to find out what the top issues are concerning the movement of freight in South Alabama. The Bicycle / Pedestrian plan was updated, and the public transit section was authored by the Wave Transit, less the Demand Response Transit Study. The Climate Change element, or Extreme Event Planning, remained almost unchanged from Destination 2040 LRTP.

The LRTP Envision 2045 was adopted by the Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organization on April 22, 2020.

More information on the new plan can be found at https://www.envision2045.org/

Transportation Improvement Program( TIP)

The TIP represents a four year program (2020-2023) for improvements in the various transportation systems located within the Mobile study area as identified in the Mobile MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the twenty-five year plan for the Mobile Urban Area Destination 2040. The LRTP establishes the transportation programs that are needed to meet travel demand by the study year and study area. LRTP projects that become funded are moved into the TIP and submitted to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), where they are programmed into the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). For MPO projects, TIP project selection is based on priorities established by MPO member governments and the availability of funds through the Surface Transportation Attributable program. For other projects, ALDOT has discretion of project funding based on availability of funds from various types of funding categories. Most often, projects in the TIP are derived from the LRTP. The TIP guides ALDOT in its annual allocation of funds for transportation improvements and becomes a part of the STIP.
ArcGIS Online is now being utilized by MPO staff to map all federally funded surface transportation projects within our area. Check it out.
2020-2023 E-STIP HERE
Regional EDA Grant

We were awarded a grant from EDA to create an Economic Relief and Resiliency Response Plan. This plan will benefit our Region by identifying industry sectors that had little or no impact from the Covid-19 Pandemic. There is a second part to this grant that will create a Workforce Development Plan. The Workforce Development Plan will implement the Economic Relief and Resiliency Reponses Plan. Bill Sisson, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Lee Lawson, Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, and Jess Nicholas, Escambia County Economic Development have agreed to serve on our Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is currently in the process of selecting a consultant for this project.

2020 Census

Thank you to all of you that precipitated in the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census initiative. It was a huge success. We are still a few weeks away from the Census Bureau releases of our statewide population, but the Census Bureau reports that 99.9 percent of households were accounted for during the 2020 Census through a combination of self-responses and follow up by field workers.


FEMA’s FY20 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs

On August 4, 2020, FEMA posted the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Notification of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant programs. FEMA’s two competitive mitigation grant programs provide states, local communities, tribes and territories (SLTTs) funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation’s ability to build a culture of preparedness by reducing disaster losses and protecting life and property from future disaster damages. This year there is $160 million available in funding for FMA and $500 million for BRIC. The BRIC priorities are to incentivize: public infrastructure projects; projects that mitigate risk to one or more lifelines; projects that incorporate nature-based solutions; and adoption and enforcement of modern building codes.
The FY20 BRIC and FMA application period opened on September 30, 2020. Applications must be received in the FEMA GO Portal by January 29, 2021. Note that FEMA will require applicants to have a current FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan at time of application and award. Visit the FY20 HMA NOFO webpage for more information.

Below is a list of previously highlighted funding opportunities that are still open. Enter the Opportunity Number in Grants.gov to see announcement details. You can also search Grants.gov for a full list of current federal opportunities, including programs not listed below.

Opportunity Title
Posted Date
Close Date

FY20 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities

FY 2019 EDA Disaster Supplemental
FY 2020 EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs (Includes CARES Act Addendum)
Updated 05/07/2020
HUD's FY2020 and FY2021 Distressed Cities TA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)
NIST Manufacturing USA National Emergency Assistance Program
Employment and Economic Development Services
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
It is our honor to have a partnership with the Southwest Alabama Partners for Training and Employment (SWAPTE) in which they serve as a host agency for our Title V - Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) participants. Not only does SWAPTE provide training opportunities to grow our participants they provide job opportunities as well. 

One such example is found in Ms. Cathy Everson. She has represented South Alabama Regional Planning Commission and its SCSEP program very well as a participant assigned to SWAPTE and now as their employee. 

Kuddos to Ms. Cathy Everson for continuing to do a great job!
If you are interested in becoming a Host Agency or know of someone who may benefit from the program as a participant, please call 251.591.6506 or 251.263.3907.
Mature Staffing Service (MSS)

This has been an unprecedented year in so many ways. One way in particular is the number of hurricanes and named storms which have impacted the Gulf Coast. The last one, which caused additional damage, was the fast moving Zeta. As a result of Zeta making its way toward our area, shelters were opened to offer a safe haven for those in low lying areas. The workers at the shelters were processed and paid through Mature Staffing Service. 

In addition to the shelter workers Mature Staffing Service continues to be a viable option when it comes to locating the right candidate for your job opening. We stand ready to serve you – government entities and non-profit organizations with your staffing and payroll needs. Contact us today at 251.263.3907 to find out how we can make a difference for you.
Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)

Through the Alabama Microenterprise Network (AMN), South Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC) was invited to participate in the virtual Booker T. Washington Summit. The purpose of this Summit was to inform and promote services to minority small business owners. SARPC staff presented information on the state-wide Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) programs and SARPC’s RLF program specifically. 

SARPC’s RLF program continues to assist small business owners with funds to purchase equipment, property, and use for working capital. For more information, call 251.591.6506.

Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7th
The Area Agency on Aging and the Baldwin and Escambia County Councils on Aging have been very busy helping hundreds of people in South Alabama make informed decisions about their 2021 Medicare plan options during Open Enrollment October 15-December 7th. The State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) offers impartial advice to help people on Medicare wade through all the marketing materials and plan options to make informed decisions that best meet their needs and save money. Counseling is also available year round to help those turning 65 select a plan, help people sign up for Medicare Savings Programs, offer assistance with making the most out of Medicare benefits, and addressing frauds and scams. To contact the SHIP program, call 251-706-4680.

Area Agency on Aging now offering free online classes for adults age 60+

Look over the large number of interesting and fun classes taught by peers.

SARPC’s Area Agency on Aging has partnered with GetSetUp to offer dozens of free collaborative on-line classes since senior centers have remained closed due to the pandemic. We will offer these free classes for the next year and hope they will be enjoyed by many. Just go to https://getsetup.io/partner/SARPC and sign-up by creating a login and start with the New Member Orientation. Use the coupon code SARPC to take any class for free. GetSetUP classes are:

  • Live & Interactive - Different from other video watching experience, GetSetUp classes involve active participation from all learners. We believe in learning by doing.
  • Engaging and Fun – The classes are taught by older adults who bring all their wisdom and experience into the class. Learners are actively engaged in lively, engaging discussions and practice.
  • Make New Friends - The classes are small, relaxed, and a great setting for people to meet new people and make friends while learning a new skill.
  • Ask Questions - Ask as many questions as you want! The Guides are patient and committed to ensuring that learners are set up and confident to achieve their goals.
Assistance with Long Term Recovery from Hurricane Sally

If you are age 60 or older and are having trouble navigating the FEMA site and hotlines and have some unmet disaster related needs, call our Aging and Disability Resource Center at the Area Agency on Aging. We will try to put you in touch with the right person to help you recover from Hurricane Sally. The Area Agency on Aging is a program of the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission. Call us at 251-706-4680.