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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 02-10Contact: Doug Hecox
Wednesday, February 17, 2010Phone: 202-366-0660

Top Highway Official Breaks Ground on Nation's Largest Highway Recovery Project
Mendez Commemorates One-Year Anniversary of ARRA at Celebration for new DFW Connector near Dallas

WASHINGTON, DC - On the first anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez is breaking ground on the new DFW Connector near Dallas, which is the largest investment of Recovery Act dollars in a highway project to date. Obama Administration officials are holding events across the country today to highlight how the Recovery Act is putting people back to work and making a positive impact on thousands of communities.

"Breaking ground on the largest highway investment on the first anniversary of the Recovery Act is a great way to mark this important milestone" said U.S Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "The Recovery Act is working every day to lay a new foundation for economic growth and has already funded 12,500 new transportation projects nationwide ranging from highway construction to airport improvement projects."

"This project, like so many others in communities across the country, will put people to work as well as help them get where they're going more safely and efficiently," Mendez said. "The success of the Recovery Act is clear, as it works to lay a new foundation for economic growth."

The $1.02 billion project, of which $250 million is funded by ARRA, will significantly reduce congestion for drivers in Tarrant County, and is beginning ahead of schedule thanks to Recovery Act dollars. It runs 8.4 miles on the SH 114/121 corridor through the communities of Grapevine and Southlake, part of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. Improvements include 12 to 14 new main lanes and four toll-managed lanes, doubling existing highway capacity.

Traffic volume along SH 114 is expected to grow from today's 189,000 vehicles to 359,000 by 2030. The Connector will build the capacity needed to handle this projected growth. Mendez added that Recovery Act funds are helping to modernize the country's transportation sector and make it more competitive.

Of the $26.6 billion in ARRA funds available nationwide, Texas' share is $2.25 billion. To date, the state has obligated $2.08 billion toward 429 projects, with 282 underway.

Also marking the ARRA anniversary, Secretary LaHood announced $1.5 billion in TIGER grants - including two in and near Dallas - that focus on innovative, multi-modal projects.

The Downtown Dallas Streetcar, sponsored by the North Central Texas Council of Governments, will originate in downtown Dallas and run through the largest job center in the North Texas area. The $23 million grant will increase transportation options for the 1.2 million people living in Dallas.

In Irving and Grand Prairie, a project sponsored by the North Texas Tollway Authority will complete the western portion of a second beltway around Dallas. The $20 million grant supports a direct loan under the USDOT's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program for up to one-third of the project's $1.3 billion cost and would use electronic toll collection to increase the capacity of this road and provide reliable and predictable levels of service.

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