Rural roads in Alaska, bridges in Maine, highways in Florida, roundabouts in California and a host of other state highway projects have received a $417.3 million boost from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced a federal grant package Wednesday (Aug. 17) to fund an array of efforts in every state and the District of Columbia. The projects range from interstate maintenance to research into innovative bridge materials and construction methods.
University of Maine
|The grant projects include replacement of the Rickers Bridge in Maine.|
“Transportation investments like these will create jobs, increase mobility, improve quality of life for all Americans, and strengthen our national economy,” said LaHood. “The demand from the states for these funds shows just how critical the need is for infrastructure investment.”
Although the grant total is large, it is a drop in the bucket of the states’ needs.
In June, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invited states to apply for federal funding from 14 grant programs. More than 1,800 requests totaling nearly $13 billion—more than 30 times the funds available—poured in from every state, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
|“The list of state highway projects in need of financial help grows almost daily,” says Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.|
“At a time when states are facing serious budgetary constraints, these grants will help fill a critical need,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “Investments like these are immediate and long-lasting and will help create jobs.”
Congress created the discretionary grant programs to give FHWA the latitude to support projects that maintain the nation’s roads and bridges, improve roadway safety, and make communities more livable.
In previous years, Congress designated some of this grant money for specific projects and FHWA awarded the rest through a competitive process. Because the FY11 budget passed by Congress in April directed that all such funds be discretionary, FHWA awarded these funds through a competitive process.
The state-by-state list of FY11 awards includes:
• $3.75 million for North Carolina, to improve the I-40/I-77 interchange near Statesville. The project is the state Department of Transportation’s top priority. The interchange carries about 12 times the daily traffic for which it was designed in the 1960s.
• $3.76 million to help Colorado with Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques that will speed replacement of the Pecos Street Bridge over I-70. These techniques will allow the bridge to be put in place over one 50-hour period, instead of disrupting traffic over 12 months.
• $29.6 million for an array of highway-related efforts in California, including adding a lane and shoulder on I-680 between San Ramon and Danville, completing the final segment of Forest Highway 171 in Butte County, and building a roundabout in Humboldt.
• $7 million for a variety of highway-related projects in Alaska, including repairs to rural roads and land acquisition for a scenic wayside for tourists along the Haines Highway.
• More than $13 million for Florida to reduce congestion on I-10 in Duval County, finish a segment of the Snake Road Improvement Project, and more.
• $4.5 million in Maine to replace the structurally deficient Rickers Bridge, reconstruct a road providing access to and from tribal lands, and more.
“The list of state highway projects in need of financial help grows almost daily,” said Mendez. “We are glad to see these funds put to use but recognize there is still much to do to meet America’s transportation needs.”