U.S. Sens. Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rep. John Tanner (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 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 8th 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 Tanner 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 8th District and across the state,” said Alexander. “I will continue to work with Senator Frist and Congressman Tanner to make sure Tennessee communities receive the federal assistance they need to grow and prosper.”
“These projects together will help boost the economic development of West Tennessee, which will help make it a better place to live and work. The development of I-69 and the Slack Water Port in Lake County will help us improve transportation through both roadways and waterways,” Tanner said.
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 West Tennessee funding in the highway bill conference report includes:
-$12 million for Tennessee statewide bus replacement and implementing Intelligent Transportation Systems.
-$11.3 million to construct Interstate 69 in Obion, Dyer, Lauderdale and Tipton counties.
-$5 million to upgrade roads for the Slack Water Port Facility and Industrial Park in Lake County.
-$5 million to reconstruct US 79 between Milan and McKenzie.
-$4 million for a six-lane extension from Airways Boulevard to South Highland Avenue in Jackson.
-$500,000 to improve streetscape and repair pavement in Dyer County.
-$500,000 to improve streetscape and repair pavement in Henry County.
-$500,000 to improve streetscape and repair pavement in Obion County.
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.