Jul 09 2008

Shelby Announces Transportation Funding for South Alabama

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 South 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.

Mobile Regional Airport Rehabilitation of Runway 18/36 and Taxiway “R” - $2 Million

Currently, the Mobile Regional Airport’s runway and taxiway surfaces are unraveling, which creates a hazard for aircraft traffic.  Furthermore, the runway and taxiway are currently not strong enough to handle the weight of aircraft that will taxi from the airport to the EADS CASA aircraft maintenance and assembly complex.

“Economically, Mobile has made enormous strides in recent years,” said Shelby.  “It is critical that the airport be prepared to meet the needs of the new businesses that have located in the area.”

Baldwin County Bus and Bus Facilities Project - $1 Million

The Baldwin County bus system will use this funding to add steel benches and coverings at each of the new bus stops in the county.

“As gas prices continue to ride, more and more people are turning to public transportation as an alternative,” said Shelby.  “It is important that bus systems expand to meet increasing need and provide appropriate shelter for people waiting for buses.”

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.

Alabama State Docks - $5.485 Million

Preliminary data indicates that Alabama will need to expand its current dockside facilities that handle and store containerized cargo.

“The Alabama State Docks have the potential to become one of America’s most economically viable ports due to their proximity to emerging trade routes on the Gulf of Mexico,” said Shelby.  “This continued funding is essential to modernize this important economic asset to our state through the construction of an intermodal containerized freight terminal.”

Mobile County Commission Bus Project - $137,000

This funding will be used to improve Mobile County’s bus system.

“The Mobile County Commission will use this funding to improve its bus project,” said Shelby.  “Convenient and inexpensive travel is a great draw for tourists.  A modern bus system will help improve Mobile’s tourism economy.”

Gulf Shores Community Bus Project - $274,000

This project will support infrastructure improvements to the Gulf Shores bus system.

“This funding will provide an important transportation option for those that live, work and vacation in the Gulf Shores area,” said Shelby.  “As concern for rising gas prices grows, public transportation becomes a very attractive option for travel within a community.”

Interstate 10 Connector - $4.25 Million

The I-10 Connector will connect Dothan and the Wiregrass area with Interstate 10 in Florida.

“This funding will allow us to continue construction on this important project to connect the Wiregrass area with Florida,” said Shelby.  “The I-10 connector will greatly improve access and traffic flow throughout southeastern Alabama.”