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State infrastructure gets federal boost

Members of the Mississippi congressional delegation have announced a $13 million award to support work by the State of Mississippi to repair transportation infrastructure damage caused by severe storms and flooding last year.

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and Representatives Gregg Harper, Steven Palazzo and Trent Kelly, all Republicans, said the Federal Highway Administration emergency relief grants are related to statewide storm damage in March 2016 and severe flooding in Southwest Mississippi last August.

Senator Thad Cochran said the money will go a long way.

“Storm-damaged roads and bridges hamper public safety and commerce.  The state will receive these grants to continue making sure Mississippi roads and bridges are safe and passable,” Cochran said.

Senator Roger Wicker added that constant weather changes don’t help the already struggling infrastructure.

“Mississippi has endured a series of extreme weather events in recent years, causing infrastructure damage throughout the state,” said Wicker.  “This funding will help repair our local transportation system and allow continued restoration.”

Congressman Gregg Harper said this isn’t just about roads, but about lives.

“Recent storms throughout our state have had a serious impact on the lives of many Mississippians,” said Harper.  “These funds will go a long way towards repairing the damage and improving our vital infrastructure system to stimulate economic development by keeping people and goods moving safely and efficiently.”

Congressman Steven Palazzo added that this will not only fix lingering issues, but boost safety.

“This grant will aid our state in making essential repairs to roads and bridges that were damaged in last year’s storms.  Sustaining our infrastructure is imperative to the safety and security of our citizens, as well as our economic state,” Palazzo said.

Congressman Trent Kelly said this is a much-welcomed assistance after a year of damage assessment and cleanup.

“It is encouraging to see this action being taken to make necessary repairs to infrastructure damaged during last March’s outbreak of severe weather. This much-needed support will be felt in the First District and throughout Mississippi,” Kelly said.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) was awarded $7.9 million for roadway, embankment, and structural repairs throughout the state from damage associated with storms of March 2016. The severe weather damaged roads, bridges, and drainage structures in 21 counties, including: Carroll, Covington, Forrest, Greene, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Jones, Lamar, Lauderdale, Leflore, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Quitman, Tate, Walthall, Warren, Wayne, and Yalobusha.

A separate $5.1 million grant to MDOT was approved for repairs associated with extensive flooding in August 2016 in Amite, Pike, and Wilkinson counties.

Emergency relief grants are distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation to repair or reconstruct federal-aid highways, roadways and bridges following the formal issuance of state or federal emergency declarations.  The grants are intended to help states restore essential traffic and mitigate future damage.

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