Feb 13 2003

SHELBY ANNOUNCES TRANSPORTATION FUNDING FOR MOBILE AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Conference Committee Approves Funding–House and Senate Scheduled to Approve Funding Soon

U. S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, announced funding for several Mobile-area projects.

Sen. Shelby said, "I am pleased that the bill provides significant funding for several projects for Mobile and the surrounding area. These funds reflect a commitment to safe and efficient transportation and infrastructure."

Railroad Bridge Reconstruction

The bill includes $6 million to continue the funding necessary to replace the 14 Mile CSX Railroad Bridge on the Mobile River. Sen. Shelby said, "Replacement of the bridge will ensure safe marine navigation on the Mobile River, which is critical to maintaining the efficiency and reliability of waterways commerce through the Port of Mobile and along the Black Warrior-Tombigbee waterway system."

State Docks

Sen. Shelby said, "The Alabama State Docks have the potential to become one of America's most economically important ports in this new century because of the proximity to emerging trade routes on the Gulf of Mexico. I am pleased that the bill provides $8 million in funding to modernize this important asset to our state by constructing an intermodal containerized freight terminal." Preliminary data indicates Alabama will need to expand its current dockside facilities that handle and store containerized cargo.

Gulf Coast High Speed Rail Corridor - Crossing Improvements

Sen. Shelby said, "Our legislation provides $1.8 million to accommodate any emerging national high-speed rail network and to reduce hazards at railroad and highway crossings along the Gulf Coast rail corridor between Mobile and New Orleans."

Gulf Coast High Speed Rail Corridor - Corridor Planning

Sen. Shelby said, "The promise of high speed rail throughout this area could provide unprecedented economic growth and opportunity. This bill provides $800,000 to begin planning for high speed rail service throughout the Gulf Coast area."

Maritime Center of the Gulf

Sen. Shelby said, "Our legislation provides $5 million for the facility that will house the Maritime Center of the Gulf. The project, which is critical to the revitalization of the downtown area, will provide an arrival location for a new high-speed ferry terminal and educational complex, as well as additional space for future commercial development."

Interstate 10 Connector

Sen. Shelby said, “Our bill includes $5 million for the I-10 Connector. This project will allow us to connect the Dothan and Wiregrass area with Interstate 10 in Florida. The I-10 Connector will greatly improve access and traffic flow throughout Southeastern Alabama.”

Center for Coastal Transportation Research at University of South Alabama

Sen. Shelby said, “Our bill includes $750,000 to develop civil engineering design of transportation facilities in environmentally-sensitive coastal areas. This center will study challenges faced by coastal areas and issues important to Mobile-area residents. Research will focus specifically on topics such as coastal transportation systems, the development and durability of coastal infrastructure, and coastal water systems."

Cruise Ship Safety Research

The bill includes $250,000 to accelerate research regarding safety hazards that are inherent to cruise ships and large vessels with high occupancy.

Sen. Shelby said, “I am pleased not only that money was set aside for this research but also that the work will be conducted in the Mobile area using the Coast Guard Fire Safety and Test Department and the University of South Alabama.”

Brookley Field Airport

Sen. Shelby said, “The bill provides $2 million in airport improvement funds for Brookley Field Airport. This funding will be used to continue airport expansion, safety improvements, and other projects on the airport’s master plan.”