U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced that today’s Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2008 Transportation, Treasury, and Housing & Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill will provide a financial boost for several Tennessee transportation and economic development initiatives.
“This legislation invests $12 million into important Tennessee initiatives to improve our state’s roadways and enhance our economic development,” Alexander said. “Better roads mean better jobs. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to work to secure dollars that upgrade our state’s transportation network, create jobs and improve the quality of life in Tennessee.”
“Maintaining our roads and bridges is tremendously important – not only to the safety of our citizens but also so that we have the infrastructure in place to attract and sustain economic development,” said Corker. “I do believe it’s critical that we look closer at setting priorities with the money we are spending on transportation projects, and I will continue working to ensure that taxpayer dollars go to where they are most needed.”
In addition to funding specific projects in Tennessee, the bill provides $40.2 billion for federal highways, a $1 billion increase over last year (FY07).
Tennessee funding in the bill includes:
-$6 million for statewide bus transportation facilities. Funds will be used to support operations, facility improvements, and capital investments of mass transit and local public transportation services across the state.
-$3 million for Interstate 69. This funding is in addition to the more than $110 million secured previously to fund construction of Interstate 69 within the state of Tennessee.
-$750,000 for the Northwest Tennessee Port Authority for construction to promote growth in the region and take advantage of unique transportation opportunities that will tie in the port.
-$1,000,000 for the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport in Sparta to extend the runway to support growth and allow for expanded service to the region.
-$1,000,000 for SR-437 By-Pass in Bedford County to begin construction of a two-lane highway to address congestion and safety concerns.
-$250,000 for the Children’s Center of the Cumberlands for additional space to develop a formalized training program for individuals working with abused children across the nation.
Lawmakers must now work out the differences in House and Senate passed versions. Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been selected a member of the House-Senate conference committee that will negotiate and finalize the final bill for Fiscal Year 2008.