Dec 08 2004

SHELBY ANNOUNCES $40 MILLION FOR BLACK BELT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES

President Signs Consolidated Appropriations Bill into Law

U. S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury and General Government, announced today that President Bush signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005. Included in this legislation, at the request of Senator Shelby, is $40 million for economic development initiatives in the Black Belt.

The Delta Region Transportation Development Program will provide federal funds for transportation infrastructure development projects in Delta Regional Authority designated counties. These funds will help facilitate multi-state transportation planning and corridor development for this impoverished area of the country.

In an effort to jumpstart the East-West Corridor project through the Black Belt of Alabama, the bill includes $15 million in funding for the East-West Corridor realignment and reconstruction between Cuba, AL and the Montgomery metropolitan area.

Sen. Shelby said, “The link between the transportation infrastructure and economic development is unmistakable. Establishing a transportation program specifically for the Delta Region is an integral step towards promoting economic development, raising the standard of living, and improving quality of life in this traditionally impoverished region. I have long advocated for the construction of an East-West Corridor across Alabama, and I believe that the $15 million that we have included in this legislation, coupled with the funding opportunities that will be provided by the Delta Region Transportation Development Program are essential to bring economic growth and opportunity to these communities.”

Earlier this year, Senator Shelby’s amendment to create the Delta Region Transportation Development Program was included in the Senate version of S.1072, the Highway Authorization bill.