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

Friday, November 3, 2000 Contact: Jim Pinkelman
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 104-00

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces $22 Million for States in Bridge Discretionary Funds

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced $22 million in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) discretionary funds for seismic bridge retrofit projects in four states.

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore recognize the need for continued strategic investment that will improve America's transportation system," Secretary Slater said. "This funding will strengthen our transportation system, create jobs across the country, and yield significant dividends in terms of safety, mobility and economic growth."

California was awarded $8 million for the San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge under the fiscal 2001 discretionary bridge program's seismic retrofit category; Missouri, $7 million for the Popular Street Bridge in St. Louis; and Tennessee and Arkansas shared an award of $7 million for the Hernando DeSoto Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River between Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark. Tennessee will receive $4.2 million and Arkansas, $2.8 million.

FHWA discretionary funds are made available upon selection by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation after requests from states for funds for projects that meet criteria established by federal law and U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulations and procedures. Congress also makes decisions on some grants.

The Discretionary Bridge Program (DBP) was established by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 and has been continued through subsequent legislation, including the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which President Clinton signed into law in June 1998. DBP consists of two categories: Replacement and Rehabilitation, and Seismic Retrofit. For fiscal 1998 through fiscal 2003, TEA-21 authorized up to $25 million per year for the seismic retrofit category.

"Bridges are a critical link in America's transportation network," FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "These grants represent the kind of strategic economic investment that will make our overall transportation system stronger."

Discretionary funds for seismic bridge retrofit projects under the discretionary bridge program are administered by the FHWA, an agency of the USDOT. Further information about the bridge program is on the Internet at www.fhwa.dot.gov.

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