U. S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, announced Senate approval of important transportation funding for Birmingham. The bill will now head to the president to be signed into law.
Sen. Shelby said,"I am pleased that the bill provides significant funding for several projects for Birmingham. These funds reflect a congressional commitment to safe and efficient transportation and infrastructure."
Sen. Shelby said, "The Transportation Bill takes a number of steps to improve mass transit in Birmingham and Jefferson County."
"In addition, the Birmingham transit corridor will receive $2 million from the FTA," continued Shelby. "These funds will allow the regional planning commission to proceed with alternatives analysis, preliminary engineering, and design work toward construction of a light rail system in Birmingham."
Automated Crash Notification System
The bill provides a second installment of $2.5 million to integrate wireless communications and information technologies into the Birmingham regional emergency medical services (EMS) and hospital trauma systems. The fully integrated system will identify the precise location of a crash event, give emergency room doctors accurate information about the probability and severity of injuries, and expeditiously dispatch fire and rescue personnel to save the lives of motorists. This pilot project is being designed and implemented by the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and state and local authorities with the support of private industry.
University of Alabama-Birmingham - Injury Control Research Center
Sen. Shelby said, "I am pleased the legislation provided UAB's Injury Center with $2.5 million. The research at the center will allow us to improve and expand the Alabama Trauma Care System and reduce mortality due to trauma-related injury."
Appalachian Development Highway System
The 2002 Transportation Appropriations bill provides $60 million for construction and improvements to the Appalachian Development Highway System in Alabama. The Appalachian Development Highway System was created in 1965 to link the under-developed Appalachian region to the National Interstate Highway System. The system is now a 3,025-mile network in a 13 state region. Alabama’s portion is 11% of the total amount designated in the bill for the entire Appalachian Development Highway System.
The 2002 Transportation Appropriations bill also provides an additional $20 million specifically for Corridor X, a 97-mile highway from Fulton, Mississippi to Interstate 65 near Birmingham, Alabama. Corridor X is one of the largest unfinished segments of the Appalachian Development Highway System.
Sen. Shelby said, "I am pleased that the bill provides a total of more than $80 million in funding for the Appalachian Development Highway System in the state of Alabama. This money will aid in continuing to open new areas to economic productivity and development.”
“I am especially pleased that we have been able to secure $20 million in funding solely for Corridor X,” said Shelby. “Finishing construction of Corridor X is one of my highest priorities because it will stimulate economic growth and new jobs in the area and will improve the safety of drivers in northwest Alabama."
Interchange at Interstate 65 and Vallydale Road
Sen. Shelby said, "Our bill provides $8 million to begin design and construction of an interchange at Interstate 65 and Vallydale Road. This improvement represents the cornerstone of a project to develop the Riverchase area of Hoover."
Jefferson County JARC (Job Access and Reverse Commute)
Sen. Shelby said, "Our bill provides $2 million for the Jefferson County Job Access and Reverse Commute program. The program is designed to fund projects that increase access to employment."
Alabama Scenic Highway
Sen. Shelby said, "Our legislation provides $750,000 for improvements to Alabama’s Scenic Highway System."
Little River Canyon National Reserve
Sen. Shelby said, "This bill provides $350,000 for improvements to the roadway at Little River Canyon National Reserve."
Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority Buses
Sen. Shelby said, "Our legislation provides $2 million for the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority so that they may be able to purchase and maintain buses."