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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 $2.9 Million in Grants for Montana Highway Projects

Funds will help create jobs with construction of Fort Belknap transit maintenance facility and placement of historic bridge in Billings for bike and pedestrian use

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced nearly $2.9 million in grants to fund an array of highway-related efforts in Montana, such as the purchase and eventual placement of a historic bridge over Billings’ 25th Street for pedestrians and bicyclists and the completion of a transit maintenance facility at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

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

Montana received funding for the following projects:

Completion of a transit maintenance facility at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation $1,647,305
Expansion of Blackfeet US 89 Interpretive Turnout $649,250
Specialized training to help students at Salish Kootenai College prepare for careers in highway construction in Pablo $350,000
Montana Department of Transportation program to prepare Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms to compete for federal highway contracts $104,018
Feasibility study of nonmotorized connection between Missoula and Lola Trail $100,000
Purchase and placement of historic bridge over North and South 25th Street to improve bike/pedestrian safety in Billings $54,457
TOTAL $2,905,030

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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