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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 New Mexico Highway Projects

Funds will help create jobs with road repairs, bridge replacement and expanded transit options

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced nearly $2.9 million in grants to fund an array of highway-related efforts in New Mexico, such as improving the road leading from the Water Canyon Campground to the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Visitor Center and improving access to the centuries-old Acoma Pueblo, one of North America's oldest inhabited communities.

"Transportation investments like these will create jobs and improve the quality of life for New Mexico 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 $430 million 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.

New Mexico received funding for the following projects:

Completion of 4.63-mile long reconstruction of Fatima Hill Road near "Sky City" in Acoma Pueblo $1,300,000
Improvements to National Forest Service Road 235 to allow access to Magdalena Ridge Observatory Visitor Center and Maintenance Facility $995,741
University of New Mexico/Central New Mexico Community College Transit and Land Use Project to improve transit service for area residents along Historic Route 66 in Albuquerque $326,100
Replacement of NM 249 bridge over Pecos River at milepost 3.4 in Hageman $160,000
New Mexico Department of Transportation program to prepare disadvantaged business enterprise firms to compete for federal highway contracts $131,100
Develop signs for the Fort Stanton portion of Billy the Kid Trail $53,000
Construction of two information kiosks at Trail of the Ancients Gateway entrances $15,000
TOTAL $2,980,941

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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