Alexander, Frist, Ford Announce Final House Passage of Highway Reauthorization Bill

Bill includes significant funding for highway infrastructure in Memphis

Posted on July 29, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and U.S. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN) today announced final House passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) highway bill which includes significant funding for Tennessee highway, transit and safety programs. “After a long and hard fought process, I’m pleased that we’ve been able to secure a highway bill that funds Tennessee’s transportation priorities,” said Frist. “This legislation supports critical infrastructure projects and will spur economic development in the 9th District. As Majority Leader, I’m committed to bringing this bill to the floor quickly so we can get it to the President for his signature. I want to thank Senator Alexander and Congressman Ford for all of their hard work on behalf of Tennesseans.” As Senate Majority Leader, Frist secured more than $200 million for Tennessee transportation projects. “Better roads mean better jobs. This bill provides funding to improve our interstates, highways and transportation infrastructure, which are critical to economic development in the 9th District and across the state,” said Alexander. “I will continue to work with Senator Frist and Congressman Ford to make sure Tennessee communities receive the federal assistance they need to grow and prosper.” “Transportation is the backbone of the Memphis and Mid-South economy, so naturally this bill's passage is a catalyst for job creation - and good jobs at that,” said Ford. The legislation ensures that the State of Tennessee will receive a 26.71 percent increase in its highway formula funding over TEA-21 enacted levels. On average, Tennessee will receive an extra $168 million each year. Tennessee’s rate of return for federal highway formula funding will increase from 90.5 percent to 91.5 percent in FY07 and to 92 percent in FY08. The transit title of the highway reauthorization bill provides funding for a number of vital urban and rural transit programs and specific transit related projects. Overall, the State of Tennessee’s transit formula apportionment will increase 164 percent over the previously enacted highway reauthorization bill. Tennessee will receive $216.7 million from FY2006 through FY2009. In addition, the state will receive $44.4 million for specific transit projects across the state. The Memphis funding in the highway bill conference report includes: $13.6 million to upgrade the North Second Street corridor. $12 million for Tennessee statewide bus replacement and implementing Intelligent Transportation Systems. $10 million for the University of Memphis, including $5 million for the Center of Advanced Intermodal Transportation, $3 million to construct pedestrian bridges, and $2 million to support designation as a University Transportation Center. $7.4 million for improvements to Phase II of the Interstate 40 interchange at Interstate 240 east of Memphis. $5 million to reconstruct sidewalks and curbs and improve streetscape in the Memphis Central Biomedical District. $3.3 million to restore Riverside Drive cobblestones and walkways. $2.5 million for the Plough Boulevard interchange at Winchester Road. $2.4 million to reconfigure entrance and exit ramps of I-240 in Memphis. $1.6 million to install an intelligent transportation system in Memphis. $800,000 to widen U.S. 72 in Shelby County. $800,000 to widen I-240 from Interstate 55 to I-40, west of Memphis. $800,000 to widen U.S. 78 from the Mississippi state line to state Route 176 in Memphis. $800,000 to reconstruct Interchange 55 at Mallory Avenue. $800,000 to widen I-240 from Poplar Avenue to Walnut Grove Road, east of Memphis. The conference report is expected to be approved by the Senate prior to the August recess and will then go to President Bush for his signature.