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

Bill includes significant funding for highway infrastructure in East Tennessee

Posted on July 29, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) today announced final House passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) highway bill conference report 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 3rd 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 Wamp 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 3rd District and across the state,” said Alexander. “I will continue to work with Senator Frist and Congressman Wamp to make sure Tennessee communities receive the federal assistance they need to grow and prosper.” “Congress negotiated this bill through the legislative process for almost two years to produce a comprehensive final product,” said Wamp. “The Third District will now see growth in economic and safety benefits with these significant transportation enhancements thanks to our supportive and effective Senators who care about our local communities.” 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 East Tennessee funding in the highway bill conference report includes: •$12 million for Tennessee statewide bus replacement and implementing Intelligent Transportation Systems. •$17.2 million to engineer, design and construct a connector road from the Interstate 75 interchange across Enterprise South Industrial Park to Highway 58 in Hamilton County. •$5.17 million to construct an interchange on Highway 64 adjacent to I-75 Exit 20 in Cleveland for increased safety. •$5 million to expand state Route 11W from Rutledge to Bean Station in Grainger County. •$2 million for project development for state Route 33 from Knox County to state Route 61 in Maynardville. •$1.78 million to acquire and construct a trail and bikeway along South Chickamauga Creek in Chattanooga. •$1.3 million to construct an Interpretive Visitor Center for the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park Trail of Tears site in Meigs County. •$650,000 to construct the Melton Lake greenway in Oak Ridge. 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.