Mississippi lawmakers–including Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Congressmen Steven Palazzo and Michael Guest–are praising the awarding of $38.8-million for 3 infrastructure projects.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the Mississippi awards through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant program. The FY2021 grants include a $20.0 million grant to the city of Jackson to transform a 1.5-mile segment of highway from Medgar Evers Boulevard; a $16.8 million grant to Long Beach to construct the Beatline Parkway; and a $2.0 million grant to Wayne, Greene, and George Counties to complete planning and preconstruction for the East Mississippi Intermodal Railroad Project.
“These grants represent a substantial investment in transportation infrastructure in Jackson, Long Beach, and East Mississippi,” Wicker said. “Drivers in Jackson and Long Beach can expect better access to key corridors, while officials in Wayne, Greene, and George Counties can begin planning to fill a gap in freight rail service. I will continue working to help Mississippi communities access the resources they need to complete their infrastructure projects.”
“Each of these intermodal transportation projects have the potential to bring significant change to communities and generate jobs, whether in an urban setting like Jackson or less populated areas in East Mississippi or the Gulf Coast,” Hyde-Smith said. “I commend these communities for submitting successful forward-looking applications, and I look forward to continuing to work with the delegation to assist our communities.”
“Investing in America’s infrastructure is critical to the success of our nation and our great state. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, securing funding for opportunities like these RAISE grants remains a top priority. This is the third consecutive year South Mississippi has received highly competitive federal investments in local infrastructure improvement projects. These improvements are imperative to expanding our growing tourism industry, supporting the new businesses calling South Mississippi home, and creating safe evacuation routes from severe weather. These brick-and-mortar improvements are the kind of infrastructure that Mississippians want and need,” said Palazzo.
“These funds are a welcomed investment in critical areas of the state. In my district, Hinds County and the City of Jackson will deliver on increased safety and connectivity for the community through the Medgar Evers Boulevard reconstruction project. The improvements and additions to this primary corridor will help increase connection to historical parts of the capital city, provide access for agricultural and industrial commerce, and provide new opportunities to our district. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the Mississippi delegation and local leaders to support this project in Hinds County and the City of Jackson to create an even better place to live, worship, and raise a family,” Guest said.
The $20.0 million grant for Jackson will help complete reconstruction of Medgar Evers Boulevard in Jackson by making improvements from Woodrow Wilson Boulevard to Northside Drive near Interstate 220.
The $16.8 million grant for Long Beach will help fund the first phase of a five lane roadway along Beatline Parkway, improving connectivity from HWY 90 to I-10 and linking Long Beach, Pass Christian, and other parts of Harrison County.
The $2.0 million grant for Wayne, Green, and George Counties will help East Mississippi Intermodal Railroad plan for improvements along a 56-mile Class III rail line. The rail line is expected to fill a rail service gap between the Port of Pascagoula and the Meridian rail hub.
The RAISE Grant program is highly competitive, and is one of the few DOT discretionary programs for which regional and local governments can directly compete for multimodal transportation funding. The program replaced the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation grants program and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.