On the TIGER trail in Virginia and Arkansas
Last week Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau and I had the opportunity to see how transportation projects funded through DOT's TIGER program are improving the quality of life in Virginia and Arkansas.
The TIGER transformations are something worth seeing. Which is why I travelled to Richmond to announce a TIGER grant that will rehabilitate the Lexington Delta Frame Bridges along I-64 in Rockbridge County.
I-64 is an economic fulcrum in the Old Dominion. It serves commuters, tourists, Virginia’s economy, and the nation--in part by providing vital access for freight heading to and from the Hampton Roads ports.
And every bridge along the way is critical to moving people and goods safer and sooner. Virginia received a TIGER grant of $11.9 million to make sure the Lexington Delta Frame Bridges provide safe and efficient river crossings for years to come, and that the state has the infrastructure to continue attracting businesses and economic development.
Fixing these kinds of assets first is critical for two reasons: in the near-term, it’s going to create jobs for people to do the work. In the long-term, the TIGER grant will help Virginia locally, regionally and globally.
That’s what TIGER -- Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery – is all about. And it’s why we’re providing $474 million in investments for 52 projects around the country. Nearly half the grants are going to rural projects like the one we announced in Virginia.
Also last week, Greg Nadeau traveled to Arkansas to announce the state's TIGER grant of almost $5 million to resurface a 14-mile stretch of Highway 92 in Conway, Van Buren, and Cleburne counties and to replace two older bridges along the route.
The project will create jobs in north-central Arkansas and move traffic more efficiently. That's especially important for freight being shipped by the state’s natural gas, timber, and poultry industries.
Virginia and Arkansas are hundreds of miles apart. But when it comes to improving the quality of life, the areas have similar needs, and they both benefit from the same commitment on the part of FHWA: to help build a stronger transportation system for future generations, connecting people to jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation’s economic growth.
DOT's TIGER program is just one of the ways we're living up to that commitment.
Victor Mendez is Administrator of the Federal Highway Administrator.