Secretary Chao Announces Major Infrastructure Investment in America

By R. Mitchell

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao Announces Major Infrastructure Investment in America
Department Proposes $856 Million in INFRA Grants

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced $855,950,000 in proposed grants through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program.

“This significant federal investment will improve major highways, bridges, ports, and railroads around the country to better connect our communities, and to enhance safety and economic growth,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

INFRA discretionary grants support the Administration’s commitment to fixing our nation’s infrastructure by creating opportunities for all levels of government and the private sector to fund infrastructure, using innovative approaches to improve the processes for building significant projects, and increasing accountability for the projects that are built. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA discretionary grant program aims to increase the total investment by state, local, and private partners.

INFRA advances a grant program established in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and utilizes updated criteria for evaluating projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals.  The program increases the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships.

Additionally, the new program promotes the incorporation of innovative technology that will improve our transportation system.  INFRA will also hold recipients accountable for their performance in project delivery and operations.

The Department is proposing awards under the INFRA discretionary grant program to both large and small projects.  For a large project, the INFRA grant must be at least $25 million.  For a small project, the grant must be at least $5 million.  For each fiscal year of INFRA funds, 10 percent of available funds are reserved for small projects. The INFRA discretionary grant program also preserves the statutory requirement in the FAST Act to award at least 25 percent of funding for rural projects.

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The list of proposed awards is as follows:

Large projects:

  • The Alabama Department of Transportation will be awarded $125 million to construct a new six-lane cable-stayed bridge with more than 215 feet of vertical clearance to carry I-10 across the Mobile River channel.
  • The Arizona Department of Transportation will be awarded $90 million to add capacity on a rural, mountainous stretch of I-17 north of Phoenix.
  • The City of Temecula, CA, will be awarded $50 million to construct a two-lane northbound collector/distributor system along I-15.
  • Space Florida will be awarded $90 million to replace the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Indian River Bridge with new twin high-level bridges, to allow transportation of oversized vehicles to launch sites.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation will be awarded $125 million to raise the vertical clearance of the Howard Street Tunnel, Baltimore, to facilitate movement of double-stack trains on an important freight rail corridor.
  • Maine DOT will be awarded $36 million in grant funding to replace the Madawaska International Bridge, a US-Canada border crossing bridge over the Saint John River.
  • Missouri DOT will be awarded $81.2 million in INFRA funds to complete two critical upgrades along I-70.
  • The Mississippi Department of Transportation will be awarded $52.4 million to complete the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) in Mississippi.
  • The Oregon Department of Transportation will be awarded $60.4 million to make a series of improvements to roadways on the north side of Bend, Oregon.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will be awarded $60.355 million to rebuild the Providence Interstate 95 Northbound Viaduct.
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Small projects:

  • The City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama will be awarded $6.87 million to replace the University Boulevard/US82 Overpass Bridge.
  • The Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District will be awarded $10.516 million to rehabilitate a 91.3-mile continuous shortline railroad corridor between McGehee, AR and Tallulah, LA.
  • The Colorado DOT will be awarded $8.297 million to add approximately 12 miles of passing lanes along US 287 in rural southeastern Colorado.
  • PortMiami will be awarded $8.04 million to rehabilitate and create new capacity on the Seaboard Marine Terminal.
  • Cobb County, GA will be awarded $5 million for the construction of a 24-foot-wide reversible ramp providing direct access to the I-75 Managed Lanes system.
  • The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) will be awarded $9.02 million to rehabilitate riverbank infrastructure along the Cuyahoga River at Irishtown Bend.
  • The South Dakota Department of Transportation will be awarded $13.01 million to support a bridge replacement project over the Missouri River in Pierre, SD.
  • The North Central Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and Texas DOT will be awarded $8.775 million for a series of 7 projects involving 7 bridges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • The City of Union Gap, WA, will be awarded $6.66 million to construct the Regional Beltway connecting SR-97 to Longfibre Road.
  • The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOT), will be awarded $9.4 million for the WV2 Proctor to Kent project.

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About R. Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief at Conservative Daily News, a Conservative political commentator, and a contributor at The Main Street Examiner. His views are his own and may not reflect those of the Main Street Examiner, its staff, leadership or ... much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and
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