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

FHWA 37-11
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces $5.9 Million in Grants for Louisiana Highway Projects

Funds will help create jobs by improving a key hurricane evacuation route near Slidell and adding lanes to US 84 near Logansport

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced more than $5.9 million in grants to fund an array of highway-related efforts in Louisiana, including adding lanes to US 84 between Logansport and Mansfield, and making sig'ificant repairs to I-59, from the I-12 interchange to the Mississippi state line – a project considered the state's second-highest highway priority given the volume of traffic it carries normally and its role as a hurricane evacuation route.

"Transportation investments like these will create jobs and improve the quality of life for Louisiana residents as well as strengthen the state's economy," said Secretary LaHood. "The demand from the states for these funds shows just how critical the need is for infrastructure investment."

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invited states to apply in June for federal funding from 14 grant programs. Requests poured in from every state, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. – more than 1,800 applications, totaling nearly $13 billion, which is more than 30 times the funding available.

"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 remainder through a competitive process. Because the FY11 budget passed by Congress last April directed that all such funds be discretionary, FHWA awarded these funds through a competitive process.

Louisiana received funding for the following projects:

Rehabilitation of I-59 from the I-12 junction to Mississippi state line in Slidell $2,000,000
Addition of passing lanes on US 84 between Logansport and Mansfield $1,500,000
Closing Cleveland Avenue and constructing a new access road to reduce train-vehicle collisions by diverting traffic to a gate-protected rail crossing in Slidell $1,100,000
Replacement of Marine Vessel Feliciana with EPA Tier 2 engines and generators to reduce emissions and improve reliability in Iberville Parish $515,000
Build a long-term sustainable tourism program strategy for areas and communities affected by the oil spill $330,000
Specialized training to help the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development prepare disadvantaged business enterprise firms to compete for federal highway contracts $291,000
Replacement of the Marine Vessel Acadia's generators to reduce emissions and improve reliability in Iberville Parish $174,000
Installation of informational signs along 115 miles of the Great River Road $49,600



A complete state-by-state list of this year's grant recipients is available online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/fhwa1137/.

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