WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Congressman Trent Kelly, R-Miss., today announced the award of $52.4 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to support construction of an 8.3-mile, four-lane divided arterial segment of MS Highway 76 in Itawamba County. This corridor is the last stretch of highway between the Toyota plant in Blue Springs, Miss., and the Toyota-Mazda joint production facility in Huntsville, Ala., that is not four lanes.
“The funding Sec. Chao announced today would improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of a critical segment of the National Highway System and a key connector to our nation’s freight network,” Wicker said. “The completion of this project would serve as an economic catalyst to the developing automobile manufacturing industry corridor anchored by the Toyota assembly plant near Blue Springs and the Toyota-Mazda joint production facility near Huntsville, Alabama.”
“Completing this important segment of the Appalachian Development Highway System in Mississippi will facilitate economic growth for Northeast Mississippi, particularly the automotive and other manufacturing interests in the region. Finishing this highway in Itawamba County will also improve the safety and efficiency of the heavily trafficked corridor,” said Hyde-Smith, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I am grateful to Secretary Chao for recognizing the need to support continued infrastructure and economic development investments in rural regions like North Mississippi.”
“Good infrastructure is key to providing high paying jobs and a better quality of life for our citizens,” Kelly said. “Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi has been a great partner and this highway improvement project will further enable Toyota and others to grow their productivity providing more jobs for hardworking Mississippians.”
The Mississippi Department of Transportation would combine the DOT award with $38.4 million of other federal and state program funds to complete the Appalachian Development Highway System in Mississippi.
The DOT award is part of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program. Today’s announcement marks the start of a 60-day congressional review period, after which the funding would be made available.Congress designed the INFRA grant program to provide dedicated discretionary funding support to critical infrastructure projects across the country.