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FHWA 26-09Contact: Doug Hecox
Monday, September 14, 2009Phone: 202-366-0660

Nation's Top Highway Official Helps Break Ground on I-215 Widening in San Bernardino
Construction Starts on Nation's Largest ARRA-Funded Highway Project to Date

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez broke ground on the third and fourth phases of the I-215 Widening Project in San Bernardino today – the nation's largest American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA)-funded highway project to begin construction to date.

"Projects like this are evidence that strengthening the economy begins with investment in our local communities," said Administrator Mendez. "Improving major routes like the I-215 will ease local traffic congestion, put thousands of people in southern California back to work and pave the way toward economic prosperity."

The I-215 project is one of only six highway Recovery Act initiatives in the nation currently valued at more than $100 million.

The third and fourth phases of the project - which begin today – are estimated to cost $583 million. Phase 3 is supported by $128 million in ARRA funding. Construction began on the project's first two phases in 2007, which includes bridge replacement and road widening along the southern end of the corridor in downtown San Bernardino.

When completed in 2013, all four phases of the $800 million project will help revitalize one of America's most economically distressed communities. It will also greatly ease congestion along a route expected to grow from an estimated 83,000 drivers daily to 130,000 in the next 20 years.

Of the $26.6 billion in Recovery Act funds available nationwide for highways, more than 7,000 projects worth more than $18 billion have been obligated. California has obligated $2 billion – or 79 percent – of its $2.6 billion share of the funding available for highways and bridge construction.

Administrator Mendez joined Caltrans Director Randell Iwasaki, San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris, and San Bernardino Area Council of Governments President Paul Eaton at the groundbreaking.

Additional information about ARRA can be found on the Federal Highway Administration Web site, www.fhwa.dot.gov/economicrecovery or at the White House's www.Recovery.gov.

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