U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced funding for several projects in West Alabama included in the fiscal year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. Following today’s action by the subcommittee, the legislation will now go to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Tuscaloosa Downtown Revitalization - $4 Million
University Boulevard and Greensboro Avenue were the City of Tuscaloosa’s original streets in the early 1800’s. Today, the two streets form the downtown’s core. These improvements will safely accommodate the increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the downtown area. The City will use the funding to widen areas of both roads that are not currently five lanes, repair and upgrade sidewalks, drainage, traffic signals and lighting.
“This ongoing project will have a significant impact on Tuscaloosa’s economy,” said Shelby. “The development will bring more businesses, activity and economic investment to the area and make Tuscaloosa a better place to live and work. As the downtown area’s economy continues to grow, it is critical that the downtown roadways are expanded to meet the increased usage and ease the traffic issues often associated with growth.”
City of Aliceville Downtown Revitalization - $400,000
This project will improve and revitalize the City of Aliceville’s downtown to encourage and accommodate economic development and population growth.
“A city is only as strong as its downtown,” said Shelby. “I believe very strongly in the need to improve, update and repair the infrastructure of our downtowns to attract new businesses, residents and jobs.”
Greene County Industrial Park - $300,000
The Crossroads of America Industrial Park in Greene County is currently working with businesses that wish to locate in the park. The Industrial Development Board of Greene County will use this funding to update its master plan, which will allow it to aggressively compete for other industries looking to relocate.
“To attract new industries and bring jobs to the area, it is critical that the infrastructure necessary be in place,” said Shelby. “This funding will allow Greene County to stand out among other areas as a good place to do business.”
Alabama Senior Transportation Program - $1 Million
Many seniors no longer drive and have little access to public transportation. As gas prices rise and the need for efficient transportation grows, Alabama’s elderly population increasingly needs assistance in going from one place to the next.
“Many of our state’s seniors are without the resources necessary to drive to their medical visits, the grocery store or to see family and friends,” said Shelby. “This program provides the essential service of helping Alabama’s elderly get where they need to go.”
In addition, the bill provides funding for the following projects included in Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the Highway and Transit Reauthorization Bill.
University of Alabama Transportation Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Fuel Cell Research Program - $500,000
This project will allow the University of Alabama to tackle the challenges and opportunities that face hybrid electric vehicle and fuel cell development.
“Increased science and research is our best hope for decreasing energy costs,” said Shelby. “This funding will allow the University of Alabama to maintain and improve its comprehensive research program to conduct cutting-edge research and to educate scientists and engineers in this growing industry.”
University of Alabama Intermodal Facility - $2.468 Million
This funding will be used to construct an Intermodal facility on campus.
“This project will construct an intermodal facility to ease on-campus congestion,” said Shelby. “The proximity of this facility to on-campus housing will also provide for a safer and more secure campus for students. This facility will truly benefit the students, faculty and staff of the University.”
University of Alabama Transit System - $411,000
This funding will enhance and expand the University’s ground transportation system.
“The University of Alabama Transit System will provide a full scale, intermodal system for the transport of individuals around campus and the surrounding Tuscaloosa community,” said Shelby. “The system will enhance safety and lessen congestion on campus, while meeting the needs of this growing college community.”
University Transportation Center at the University of Alabama - $650,000
This project will fund transportation education and research.
“These funds will be used for a University Transportation Center at the University of Alabama, which will conduct projects involving transportation education, research and technology,” said Shelby.
Tuscaloosa Bypass - $6.25 Million
These funds will be used to construct a corridor connecting the Black Warrior Parkway Bridge with Rice Mine Road and Interstate 59.
“The construction of the Tuscaloosa Bypass will create a corridor connecting the Black Warrior Parkway Bridge with Rice Mine Road and Interstate 59,” said Shelby. “This transportation route will improve access and improve traffic flow throughout the metropolitan Tuscaloosa area.”
City of Tuscaloosa Intermodal Facility - $1.646 Million
This funding will be used to construct and intermodal facility in downtown Tuscaloosa.
“These funds will provide Tuscaloosa with an intermodal facility to accommodate increased traffic in the downtown area,” said Shelby. “This facility will serve as an important complement to the ongoing downtown revitalization project in Tuscaloosa.”
Interstate 85 Extension - $22.5 Million
This funding will go towards the planning, engineering, design and construction of the East-West highway corridor stretching from Montgomery to Cuba, Alabama.
“This critical funding will go towards the planning, engineering, design and construction of the East-West highway corridor stretching from Montgomery to Cuba, Alabama,” said Shelby. “The extension of I-85 in this area will bring significant economic development and new opportunities to a region of the state that has not yet reached its potential.”