WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and U.S. Representatives Michael Guest, R-Miss., and Mike Ezell, R-Miss., today welcomed the award of $28,382,500 for infrastructure projects in Laurel and Meridian.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the Mississippi awards through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant program. The grants include a $24.8 million grant to the City of Laurel to make improvements to roads in the downtown area and a $3.5 million grant to Meridian to complete planning for North Hills Street.
“These grants are a significant investment and represent a major victory for Laurel and Meridian,” Wicker said. “These projects will help make roads safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike, while also supporting economic growth. I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure our state’s transportation needs are met.”
“Laurel and Meridian will be able to use these grants to make headway in boosting the quality of life in their communities, which is the goal of the RAISE grant program. I appreciate the Transportation Department for making this investment in Mississippi,” said Hyde-Smith, ranking member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
“This grant funding supports needed preparations for completing the North Hills Street project in Meridian, including planning for upgrades to meet current and projected traffic volumes,” Guest said. “The improvements from this project will help Meridian share in the growth of the overall area and have better access to local businesses, colleges, and other facilities our communities use on a regular basis. The grant funding also represents a significant infrastructure investment in Laurel, replacing crumbling roads and updating them for modern use. I’m proud of the effort Meridian and Laurel put into this competitive process and that the Mississippi Congressional Delegation could assist.”
“I am pleased to see such a large investment in Laurel’s infrastructure, which will address key public safety issues and support a city that continues to thrive,” Ezell said. “I look forward to continuing to work with both my fellow Mississippians and my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee to meet our state’s infrastructure needs.”
The $24.8 million grant for Laurel will help improve the current transportation network along the northern edge of downtown Laurel. Projects along the East/West spine of 5th Street, Sawmill Road, Magnolia Street, and Teresa Street would replace unsafe, disjointed, crumbling, unappealing, and antiquated streets that are dangerous for vehicles and pedestrians. The funding would support road reconstruction, a new roundabout, lighting, landscaped medians, new ADA-compliant sidewalks, and new lane markings.
The $3.5 million grant for Meridian will support planning efforts for improvements along a nearly seven-mile section of North Hills Street between Mississippi Highway 19 and the city limits east of MS Highway 39. The project would include widening roads, adding pedestrian and bicycle facilities, creating turn lanes, reconfiguring and realigning existing intersections, installing traffic signals, rehabilitating the existing pavement, and establishing retaining walls.
The highly-competitive RAISE Grant program is one of the few DOT discretionary programs for which regional and local governments can compete for multimodal transportation funding directly. The program replaced the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation grants program and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.