Jul 29 2005

UPDATE: SHELBY ANNOUNCES TRANSIT PROJECTS FOR NORTH ALABAMA

PLEASE NOTE: The Senate passed H.R. 3 this evening by a vote of 91 to 4. The bill is now headed to the President’s desk for his signature.

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) today announced conference committee approval of H.R. 3, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The House is expected to vote on final passage tonight, and the Senate will consider the bill following House approval. This legislation, commonly referred to as the Highway Bill, authorizes $286.5 billion in funding for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, transit programs, and other purposes. Senator Shelby was a member of the Conference Committee.

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased we were able to reach agreement on this important piece of legislation. I believe that reauthorizing the Highway Bill is essential to developing and improving infrastructure which leads to economic development and job creation. I am also proud of the Banking Committee’s bipartisan effort to craft the transit title of the Highway Bill. It successfully balances the needs of growing states and rural states, and recognizes the unique demands of the transit-reliant public. Among many improvements, we have streamlined the FTA’s grant process, and created funding flexibility to allow for innovative technologies like Bus Rapid Transit. This bill will ensure that the country’s existing infrastructure continues to be funded, while allowing for the necessary growth to meet future needs. Further, this bill provides guidance and important funding for cities and states across the country to plan and construct important road, bridge, and highway safety projects in order to meet the needs of their growing communities” added Shelby, Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction of the transit portion of H.R. 3.

“Passage of the Highway Bill is significant as it provides Alabama with the tools to begin planning and construction of major road projects as well as maintain progress on ongoing projects. I am also pleased that we were able to include funding for a number of important regional projects as they will improve the state’s infrastructure on a large scale and have tremendous economic impact in the years to come,” Shelby added.

The projects included in this legislation will be disbursed to the State over the life of the bill.

University of Alabama in Huntsville Transportation, Infrastructure and Logistics Research - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Transportation, Infrastructure and Logistics Research office aims to increase economic growth in Alabama by identifying and supporting the development of infrastructure in the state. This project will support the long-term growth of Alabama’s economy.”

U.S. Space and Rocket Center Tramway Extension - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used to extend the tramway at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, thus connecting the botanical gardens to the museum complex.”

City of Gadsden Community Buses - $500,000

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that we secured funds for this important bus project in Gadsden. These funds will provide an important transportation option for those individuals living in the Gadsden area.”

University of Alabama in Huntsville Intermodal Facility - $6 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased the bill includes $6 million for an intermodal facility at the southern part of UAH’s campus. This area of the campus continues to grow, and additional space is integral to accommodate the needs of the students and researchers who will use the new campus research facilities.”

Cummings Research Park Intermodal Center - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Intermodal Center at Cummings Research Park is a necessary addition to meet the needs of this new research park. The Center will integrate multiple modes of transportation, serve as a regional transit transfer facility and address traffic safety issues in and around the research park.”

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