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Your Tax Dollars: Grants to Improve Bridges, Railroads

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Money is coming from Washington to help with one of Mississippi’s railroads on the coast and to help improve the Mississippi River bridge in Vicksburg. The money is part of a federal transportation program known as “TIGER” and is expected to boost Mississippi’s role in the international transport of products.

The Miss. Export Rail Line is in Jackson County between Moss Point and Pascagoula. Right now, there are 16 crossings that both slow down trains and limit the number of cars they can pull. The money being awarded to the Port of Pascagoula means the rail line can be moved to a less-traveled area so trains can be longer and will not have to stop nearly as much.

The $14 million project supports a plan to have more goods come through Mississippi on their way to Canada and the Midwest.

“These transportation grants are geared toward improving transportation efficiency, public safety and our economy,” said Sen. Thad Cochran, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.  “The rail line in Jackson County, in particular, will not only improve public safety but create new economic opportunities for industries from the coast to the Midwest and Canada to ship products through the Port of Pascagoula.”

The movement of pier foundations underneath the I-20 bridge over the Miss. River at Vicksburg has caused the bridge some stress and now $4.2 million will go toward making that bridge stronger. That is also part of the federal transportation project.

According to the U.S. Transportation Department, the work will improve the ability of the bridge truss and deck to withstand minor lateral movements.

“Increasing the productivity and safety of these transportation lifelines will help lead Mississippi’s economic future,” said Sen. Roger Wicker. “Enhancements on the Mississippi Export Rail Line and Vicksburg Mississippi River Bridge are critical to Mississippi’s economy. These two grants will make a significant impact on improving transportation in Mississippi.”

There was no timeline on when the projects might be complete.

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