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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 13, 2002
Contacts:
USDOT: Brian Roehrkasse, Pager 877-713-9222
FHWA, Jim Pinkelman, 202-366-0660
FHWA 18-02

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces $11 Million Grant to Improve Safety, Reduce Congestion On 14th Street Bridges in National Capital Area

Kicks off Bus Tour in Celebration of National Transportation Week

WASHINGTON, DC-U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced $11 million in federal discretionary funds to improve safety and reduce congestion on the 14th Street Bridges, connecting Washington, DC and northern Virginia on heavily traveled I-395.

At the announcement, held at the Jefferson Memorial, the Secretary was joined by U.S. Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to honor transportation and defense transportation workers. The announcement kicked off the Secretary's week-long bus tour in celebration of National Transportation Week.

"Bridges are vital links in America's transportation system, and today we see the importance of the 14th Street Bridges as symbols of what mobility, safety and security mean to Americans," Secretary Mineta said. "Mobility - the ability to move about safely according to our needs - is one of our great freedoms, and National Transportation Week is a special time for celebrating it."

Under the 14th Street Bridges project, safety improvements will be made to the bridge interchanges where I-395 meets them from the Virginia and the District of Columbia sides, as well as improvements to the nearby Humpback Bridge on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which intersects I-395. The overall project also includes access improvements to the Columbia Island Marina on the parkway and improvements on roads within the District of Columbia.

The 14th Street Bridges are eligible for funding under the Public Lands Discretionary Funding Program, one of several discretionary funding categories administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"Safety and mobility are two of President Bush's top transportation priorities," FHWA Administrator Mary E. Peters said. "The funds we are providing for the project will result in improved traffic operations, reduced congestion and greater safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles using the 14th Street Bridges."

The Secretary will travel on a bus across the eastern half of the United States, stopping in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri to participate in transportation-related events that reflect the broader intermodal goals of the department such as safety, security, the freedom of mobility, and economic growth.

Also during today's events, Secretary Mineta named the three winners of a nationwide National Transportation Week (May 12-18) poster contest.

In naming the National Transportation Week poster contest winners, Secretary Mineta presented a plaque to Laura Schwartzer, a fifth-grade student who entered the contest from Hillside Elementary School in New Cumberland, PA. Katelyn Keil from San Simon Elementary School in San Simon, AZ finished second in the contest, and Spencer Daum from Edison Elementary School in Alameda, CA finished third.

More than 100 schools submitted artwork from 5th grade students across the country around the theme of "Transportation - It Keeps America Moving." The first prize includes a $200 savings bond for Ms. Schwartzer and a $500 award to Hillside Elementary School; second prize, a $100 savings bond for Ms. Keil and $200 for her school; and third prize, a $100 bond for Mr. Daum and $100 for his school.

Last year's winning National Transportation Week poster also was created by a Hillside Elementary School student, Sean Goldinger.

National Transportation Week, under a proclamation signed by President George W. Bush, occurs each year during the week of National Defense Transportation Day, which is on the third Friday in May. For more information about National Transportation Week, go to www.ntweek.org on the Internet.

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