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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: Kelly Hanahan
Tel: 202-366-0660

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces $6.2 Million in Grants for Mississippi Highway Projects

Funds will help create jobs by repaving highways and providing training for disadvantaged businesses

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced more than $6.2 million in grants for Mississippi to fund an array of highway-related efforts ranging from repaving key stretches I-55 to improving the Ship Island Ferry Terminal.

"Transportation investments like these will create jobs and improve the quality of life for Mississippi 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 funds 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.

Mississippi received funding for the following projects.

Repaving I-55 from SR 330 to Panola County line $2,000,000
Repaving I-55 from Yalobusha County line to SR 6 $2,000,000
Creating a connection between I-20 and Sam Herring Road in Byram and Clinton $1,250,000
Assisting the growth, education and training of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms $407,400
Improving the Ship Island Ferry Terminal $347,400
Reconstructing the historic Bridge of Sighs in Natchez $100,000
Developing a comprehensive signage strategy for the Beach Boulevard & Byways to Space $96,900
Creating a rest area at Ford's Well $75,000
TOTAL $6,276,700

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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