Jul 29 2005

UPDATE: SHELBY ANNOUNCES TRANSIT PROJECTS FOR WEST 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 Transportation Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Fuel Cell Research Program - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “The bill includes $2 million in funding for the Transportation Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Fuel Cell Research Program through the Center for Advanced Vehicle Technologies (CAVT) at The University of Alabama. This funding will allow the University to maintain and grow its comprehensive research program to conduct cutting-edge research and to educate scientists and engineers in this growing industry.”

University of Alabama Intermodal Facility - $9 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used for the construction of an intermodal facility to ease on-campus congestion. The proximity of this facility to on-campus housing will also provide for a safer and more secure campus for students. I am pleased we were able to include the funds for this facility as it will truly benefit the students, faculty and staff of the University.”

University of Alabama Transit System - $1.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased these funds were included in the bill to provide the University of Alabama the resources to develop a transit system. This will provide a full scale, intermodal system for the transport of individuals around campus and in the surrounding Tuscaloosa community. These funds will enhance safety and lessen congestion on campus, while also meeting the needs of this growing college community.”

University Transportation Center at the University of Alabama - $2.4 million

Senator Shelby said, “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.”

City of Tuscaloosa Intermodal Facility - $6 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will provide downtown Tuscaloosa with an intermodal facility to accommodate increased traffic in the downtown area. This facility will serve as an important complement to the ongoing downtown revitalization project in Tuscaloosa.”

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