Jul 29 2005

UPDATE: SHELBY ANNOUNCES TRANSIT PROJECTS FOR BIRMINGHAM AREA

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.

Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority I-65 Bus Rapid Transit - $100 million

Senator Shelby said, “This bill includes $100 million for the Jefferson County Transit Authority. These funds may be used for the development of a 25-mile reversible lane on I-65 for buses and high-occupancy vehicles to connect downtown Birmingham with surrounding areas. This project is extremely important to meet the needs of Birmingham’s continued growth.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham Intermodal Facility - $7 million

Senator Shelby said, “Due to expansion of the UAB Research District, funds for a new intermodal facility will provide UAB with much needed space to accommodate the visitor and patient growth of this area of the University. I am pleased we were able to include these funds in the bill.”

Injury Control Research Center at UAB - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased to have been able to play a role in providing funds to the Injury Control Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Center's work has provided much-needed data allowing us to better understand and someday prevent catastrophic and other severe injuries sustained during motor vehicle crashes.”

City of Birmingham Intermodal Facility (Phase II) - $7 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased to announce these funds for phase II of Birmingham’s intermodal facility. These funds will be used to expand the Morris Avenue bus transfer facility in downtown Birmingham into a full service multimodal center.”

University of Alabama at Birmingham Trauma Care System Research and Development - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased to announce these funds for this important project. This project will enhance and expand the existing infrastructure of the Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services System and will serve to facilitate the development of a comprehensive statewide trauma system.”

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Bus Project - $500,000

Senator Shelby said, “These funds will be used for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) for a bus project. This will assist AIDB in its efforts to more safely transport the individuals they serve. AIDB, founded in 1858, is the nation’s most comprehensive organization serving individuals who are deaf, blind and multi-disabled and their families.”

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