U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Alcorn State University and local officials announce $17.9 transportation grant

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced during a news conference held today at Alcorn State University’s Natchez campus a $17.9 million grant for the TRI-Mississippi project, a collaboration between Claiborne, Franklin and Jefferson counties, along with Alcorn, that will build 18 bridges with support from the Department’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) 2014 program.

Alcorn President Alfred Rankins Jr. welcomed Secretary Foxx and attendees to the University’s Natchez campus.

“Secretary Foxx’s presence here today says a lot about his commitment to southwest Mississippi. The opportunity to improve infrastructure in southwest Mississippi is critical to economic development of the region. This grant is one more step toward continually making great things happen for citizens in Mississippi,” said Rankins.

Secretary Foxx said, “I know that this area has serious mobility problems – getting to school, work, the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station– as bridges and roads may not be sufficient. Another problem that rural parts of our country are facing is getting people back to work. And this grant will help tackle these problems and make people’s lives easier.”

He added, “The TIGER grant is very competitive. For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”

The grant will pay for improvements to 41.16 miles of strategic county roads and replacing 18 bridges, which will have a positive impact on residents and travelers in the region. The work will also improve access to regional employment centers, including Alcorn State. The University will receive $586,500 for renovating 2.5 miles of research farm access roads.

Alfred L. Galtney, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at Alcorn, said, “Alcorn State is a central location for all three counties involved in the Three-County Roadway Improvements Program (TRI-Mississippi). This is an important initiative because it shows the University’s regional approach to community and economic development.”

Brenda Buck, county administrator for Claiborne County and lead applicant for the grant, recognized Mississippi’s senators and representatives, other elected officials, project partners – engineering firm Williford, Gearhart & Knight and Alcorn employees.

“Alcorn serves as the glue for our counties as it has a great presence in southwest Mississippi. The University was instrumental in helping the counties obtain this grant, and among other things, we are thankful for the support of Alcorn President Alfred Rankins Jr. and the feasibility component provided by the University,” said Buck.

The event concluded with remarks by George Collins, president of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors, Trent Hudson Sr., president of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors, and Eddwin A. Smith, president of the Claiborne County Board of Supervisors.

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