Vigo County officials likely will need to agree to a longer-term bond than some wanted in order to fund the Canal Road project, a county councilman said.

Several County Council members met with county commissioners early Monday afternoon in the Vigo County Annex to discuss funding options for the project. County officials last week received a bid of $19.84 million for the first part of the project, the same amount that was received when the phase was initially put out to bid.

The first phase connects near McDaniel Road, which includes constructing a 40-foot-tall bridge over CSX railroad tracks, and building a new Canal Road turning north to intersect Feree Road.

The second phase would extend and widen Canal Road to Interstate 70.

The bid for the first phase came within 5 percent of INDOT’s estimate, which means it’s an acceptable bid, councilman Jim Hellmann said after the meeting.

The entire project likely will be paid for by a bond, or a kind of loan, with the county’s Economic Development Income Tax funds to help pay back the bond.

Had the bid come in lower, the council would have liked to pay it off in five to six years, Hellmann said.

The projected cost means that it will likely require more years to pay off.

“We want to push a minimum time,” Hellmann said. “The council is committed to getting it paid off quickly.”

The total project is projected to cost $40.7 million, with federal aid counting for just over $14 million, based on figures from the Vigo County Engineering Department.

That leaves the county to pay $26.7 million, the engineering department’s figures indicated. Local officials are projected to have to provide $12.2 million for the first phase and $14.4 million for the second phase.

Paul Mason, president of the county commissioners, wasn’t sure if the council and commissioners were on the same time frame for the bond. He said they would know more when the council members meet with a financial consultant at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Annex.

“I feel like, if it’s going to be a short-term bond, then that’s going to tie up the rest of the EDIT funds to not do much at all,” Mason said, “so maybe if we could extend the bond, maybe over a 10- or 15-year period, that might be better.”

The county allocated $3 million for the Canal Road project in the 2007 budget, according to figures in the adopted 2008 budget.

Hellmann said during the meeting that he would like to see 40 to 60 percent of the EDIT money used to fund the project. Mason said afterward that he thought 60 percent might be too much.

Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or austin.arceo@tribstar.com.

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