More federal money to rebuild Gulf Coast roads

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The Gulf Coast states, still rebuilding after a series of devastating hurricanes in 2005, will share $868 million in federal funds for road and bridge projects, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced this week.

Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida will use the money to repair or rebuild federally supported highways and bridges damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mississippi will receive $740 million, the lion’s share of this most recently announced appropriation. Louisiana will receive $75 million, Florida $42 million and Texas $11 million.

Mineta says the funding amounts were based on state requests. “This money gives states the confidence of knowing we are with them,” Mineta says. Additional funds are likely to be requested and distributed, he says.

The funding is part of a $2.75 billion emergency relief package requested by President Bush and approved by Congress late in 2005. The U.S. Department of Transportation already had sent $25 million to both Louisiana and Mississippi to allow them to begin repairs while awaiting congressional action.