Dec 08 2004

SHELBY ANNOUNCES MILLIONS FOR WEST ALABAMA

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 the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005 into law. Included in this legislation is millions of dollars for projects in West Alabama.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2005 is a spending bill that includes the remaining appropriations bills, which provide funding for: Transportation, Treasury, and General Government; Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, State; Energy and Water; Foreign Operations; Interior; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; Legislative Branch; and Veterans Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased to announce funding for many important projects in West Alabama and across the state. This legislation provides necessary resources for a wide-range of initiatives to improve the quality of life for our citizens and increase economic development opportunities across the state.”

Highlights Include:

Over $10 Million for Tuscaloosa Downtown Revitalization

$2 Million for Gees Bend Ferry

TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT

City of Tuscaloosa Downtown Revitalization - $10 Million

The City of Tuscaloosa will receive $10 million for their 21st Avenue Urban Renewal Project, including design, planning, and land acquisition. Senator Shelby said, “This funding will assist Tuscaloosa in revitalizing this important area.”

The legislation also provides an additional $1.9 million for downtown revitalization in Tuscaloosa in the Veterans Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development section of the bill.

Gees Bend Ferry - $2 Million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used to assist the Gees Bend ferry with operating expenses. The operation of the ferry is important to the residents of this area, and I am pleased we have provided theses much-needed funds.”

Fuel Cells Research - $1 Million

The bill includes $1 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. Senator Shelby said, “This funding will allow the University to establish a comprehensive research program to conduct cutting-edge research and to educate scientists and engineers in this growing industry.”

Eutaw Bridge Reconstruction - $500,000

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will allow for much needed construction improvements to be made to the Eutaw Bridge.”

Wilcox County Industrial Development Authority - $300,000

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased we secured these important funds so the Wilcox County Industrial Development Authority may begin development of an industrial park in the area. I am committed to providing resources that encourage economic development opportunities in our state.”

Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission - $250,000

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased the legislation includes funding for the important work being done by the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission. These funds will assist the Commission’s mission of promoting economic opportunities for this region of the state.”

Alabama Area Agencies on Aging - $1 Million

Senator Shelby said, “The bill includes $1 million for the Alabama Area Agencies on Aging to provide increased transportation opportunities for Alabama’s senior citizens.”

Center for Aging Infrastructure at the University of Alabama - $1 Million

Senator Shelby said, “The Aging Infrastructure Center of Excellence at the University of Alabama will work to develop ways to improve our nations’ transportation industry.”

Easter Seals Project ACTION - $3 Million

Senator Shelby said, “Easter Seals Project ACTION promotes cooperation between the transportation industry and the disability community to increase mobility for people with disabilities. These funds will assist them in their efforts to further this program.”

Southern Fuel Cell Coalition - $500,000

These funds will be used to establish the Southern Fuel Cell Coalition which will serve the Southeastern United States. The coalition will work to tackle the challenges and opportunities that face fuel cell development and hydrogen infrastructure in the South.

AGRICULTURE

Catfish Disease Research - $1 Million

Senator Shelby secured continued funding for aquaculture and fish disease research to be conducted at the Agricultural Research Service facilities located at Auburn University. This bill includes $1.01 million in funding for the project which will provide greatly needed scientific research for the development of safe and effective vaccines for the prevention of diseases in catfish to increase productivity, fish efficiency, and reproduction. Senator Shelby said, "I am pleased to provide funding so that the researchers at Auburn can continue their important research activities into the diseases that affect our catfish."

Precision Agricultural Partnership - $604,000

Senator Shelby said, "This bill includes $604,000 for the Precision Agricultural Partnership, which conducts research to increase farm and forest productivity. This project uses technologies such as remote sensing, geographic information systems and global positioning systems to aid traditional methods of farming and forestry."

Alabama Beef Connection - $393,000

Senator Shelby said, "This bill includes funding for the Alabama Beef Connection program. This new program will allow us to track cattle as they move from farm to market and will provide greater information to public health officials who monitor beef products."

Nursery, Greenhouse and Turf Specialties Research - $275,000

Senator Shelby said, "This continued funding will support research of greenhouse, nursery and turf horticultural products. The research will focus on areas such as new and improved pest resistant plant strains, utilization of new technologies in production, and strategies for crop scheduling. As the largest economic plant industry in Alabama, research in these areas are needed to maintain and fuel the industry's growth."

Improved Crop Production Practices - $1.425 Million

Senator Shelby said, "This funding will allow Auburn University, Alabama A & M and Tuskegee University to conduct joint research of conservation tillage, precision agriculture and management of poultry litter."

Isabel and Wiley Hill Conservation Education Center - $450,000

Senator Shelby said, “This bill includes $450,000 for a cooperative program with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for conservation education. The DCNR will work cooperatively with the Alabama Wildlife Federation to provide educational materials on conservation and natural resources through the Isabel and Wiley Hill Conservation Education Center in Millbrook, Alabama.”

COMMERCE, JUSTICE, STATE

National Fatherhood Initiative - $3 Million

Senator Shelby said, "This bill provides $3 million for the National Fatherhood Initiative. This project will study the causes and consequences of out-of-wedlock childbirth, including the impact illegitimacy has on criminal activity and welfare dependence. The funds will also be used to develop and promote pro-family practices as a solution to these problems. The Initiative's work will be conducted by a consortium which includes the National Fatherhood Institute and the Alabama Policy Institute."

 

National Center For Missing and Exploited Children - $26.9 Million

Senator Shelby said, "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has helped to locate thousands of missing children and has coordinated with law enforcement agencies throughout the nation to develop protocols for preventing child abduction and abuse. The funding they will receive will help NCMEC maintain and expand their National Resource Center and Clearinghouse, the police technology project, LOCATER; expand the NetSmartz Workshop, and address other items. In addition, $3 million of these funds will be used for the training program provided by the Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center.”

 

Regional Information Sharing System - $40 Million

Senator Shelby said, "The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) Program is composed of six regional centers that share intelligence and coordinate efforts against criminal networks that operate in many locations across jurisdictional lines. Typical targets of RISS activities are drug trafficking, terrorism, violent crime, cybercrime, gang activity, and organized criminal activities."

 

Alabama Bureau of Investigation's Missing Children Program - $400,000

Senator Shelby said, "This project will provide funding to increase available resources for Missing and Exploited Children investigations. The funding will bolster this critical program and provide the necessary resources for the ABI to quickly and efficiently recover missing children and prosecute the offenders. Investigative resources will include personnel and equipment, training, as well as resources for public education issues surrounding Missing & Exploited Children."

 

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program - $109 Million

Senator Shelby said, "The Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program continues to be a success story by partnering federal, state, public and private entities in order to assist small and mid-sized American manufacturers modernize so that they may compete in the global marketplace."

 

ENERGY AND WATER

Relocation of Tuscaloosa Area Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased this legislation provides a $32 million authorization for the relocation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tuscaloosa Area Office.”

The relocation of this facility will allow the City of Tuscaloosa to move forward with its ongoing development of a riverwalk. The Corps of Engineers currently occupies waterfront property vital to the City’s riverwalk project that includes public parks and recreation areas, and adds to the larger downtown revitalization plan. Additionally, relocation of the current facility will allow the Corps to consolidate offices, improve security, separate Government Owned Contractor Operated facilities from Government offices, and upgrade maintenance facilities.

“This will compliment the City’s efforts to revitalize downtown Tuscaloosa and ensure long-term, economic growth in the area. I share the belief of City leaders, residents, and business-owners that the completion of these important development projects is the key to a brighter future for Tuscaloosa,” Shelby added.

 

WATERWAY PROJECTS

The legislation provides funds for a number of Alabama waterway projects. Senator Shelby said, “Alabama’s waters are an important part of our national inland waterway transportation system, while serving as an economic necessity for businesses in Alabama and across the nation. Numerous industries depend on an efficient waterway infrastructure to transport goods, and adequate funding is critical in order to avoid interruptions to the river flow traffic.”

The bill has provided funding for a number of Army Corps of Engineers projects in Alabama. These funds have been provided for the Corps' ongoing operation and maintenance activities on the waterways listed below:

 

  • Alabama - Coosa Comprehensive Water Study - $500,000

     

  • Alabama - Coosa River - $4 million

     

  • Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers - $5,231,000

     

  • Bayou La Batre - $100,000

     

  • Gulf Intracoastal Waterway - $5 million

     

  • Inspection of Completed Works - $50,000

     

  • Millers Ferry Lock and Dam, William Bill Dannelly Lake - $2.727 million

     

  • Mobile Harbor - $21 million (includes $1 million to continue Garrows Bend environmental restoration)

     

  • Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam - $4.464 million

     

  • Walter F. George Lock and Dam - $5.989 million

     

  • Black Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway - $19,539,000

     

  • Tennessee River O & M - $17 million

     

  • Tennessee - Tombigbee Waterway - $23,004,000

     

  • Tennessee Tombigbee Wildlife Mitigation Payments - $2 Million

     

  • Kentucky Lock and Dam, KY - $32.5 million

     

  • Chickamauga Lock, TN - $18.08 million
       

    These funds have been provided for the Corps' General Investigations works:

     

    • Brewton and East Brewton, AL - $145,000

       

    • Cahaba River Watershed, AL - $75,000

       

    • Village Creek, Jefferson County (Birmingham Watershed) - $233,000

    These funds have been provided to the Corps for construction and major rehabilitation projects on the following waterways:

     

    • Walter F. George Powerhouse and Dam, AL & GA $1.7 million

       

    • Walter F. George Powerplant, AL & GA - $6 million

       

    • Duck River - $100,000

    Smart Energy Management Control System at the Univ. of South Alabama - $1 Million

    These funds will be used for University of South Alabama research, in cooperation with industry and the Cooperative Research Network of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, on a fuel cell powered home using the Smart Energy Management Control System.

     

    Appalachian Regional Commission - $66 million

    Sen. Shelby said, "This legislation provides $66 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission. This funding will allow the Appalachian Regional Commission to continue their efforts to bring economic development and increased infrastructure to this region of the United States."

    Delta Regional Authority - $6,048,000

    Sen. Shelby said, "The Delta Regional Authority was established three years ago and created an eight state region of the country, including 20 counties in Alabama, eligible for additional transportation and infrastructure funding, as well as funds for economic development and skills training. This year's appropriations bill provides $6,048,000 for the Delta Regional Authority."

    INTERIOR

    Boligee Street Historic Preservation - $400,000

    These funds will be used for the restoration of this historic courthouse square on Boligee Street in Eutaw. Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased to provide this assistance to Greene County as they restore their historic courthouse.”

    Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge - $550,000

    The Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge was established in the 106th Congress, and the land that it encompasses is home to 32 animals and plants protected under the Endangered Species Act. These funds will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to acquire approximately 760 acres within the refuge. Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that the Committee approved these funds for the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. This environmentally-diverse, pristine land must be protected for future generations to enjoy.”

    Alabama National Forest - $1.9 Million

    This funding will assist in the purchase of land, from willing sellers only, within the boundaries of Alabama's National Forests. The National Forests in Alabama represent the largest area of publicly owned land in Alabama, covering approximately 665,661 acres. Senator Shelby said, "This year's funding will aid in the continued protection and preservation of our wildlife and natural resources in this area."

    Alabama Rural Economic Action Program for Underserved Distressed Counties - $500,000

    This funding will assist the forest industry in underserved communities and distressed counties to create and retain jobs to stimulate economic development in the State of Alabama. Senator Shelby said, "The forest industry in Alabama is suffering from difficult times with the loss of more than 4,000 jobs due to plant closures, layoffs, and downsizing. Users of the program will receive direct practical assistance to create and retain jobs, expand the use of productive technologies, reach new markets, and improve the utilization of forest resources."

    VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN AFFAIRS (VA-HUD)

    City of Tuscaloosa - $1.9 Million

    This funding will assist the City of Tuscaloosa with their 21st Avenue Urban Renewal Project, including design, planning, and land acquisition. Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased we were able to secure these funds to assist Tuscaloosa with their revitalization efforts. The proposed revitalization plan will bring hope and opportunity to the downtown area.”

    City of Livingston - $300,000

    Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased we were able to provide funding for the City of Livingston to begin its revitalization process. Livingston has a rich history, and it is crucial that the city maintain its history with a renewed interest in the downtown area.”

    Lamar County Commission - $300,000

    Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased we were able to assist the Lamar County Commission with their water supply project. The long term benefits of this project may be significant in that a stable water source will be available for the county for future growth and development.”

    Alabama Department of Environmental Management - $1 Million

    Senator Shelby said, “This funding will allow the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to conduct field training for Alabama water and wastewater operators across the state.”