March 28, 2003 Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen is lobbying to make sure the territory gets federal funding for five crucial road projects located across the territory.
Her move comes as the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure begins the process of reauthorizing the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, commonly called TEA-21 funds.
Christian said the five projects are the territory's top priorities. They include the Christiansted by-pass; completion of the west-east corridor upgrade through Charlotte Amalie; improvements to the Route 78 Scenic Road on St. Croix; improvements to the Scott Free Road on St. Thomas; and improvements to local roads across the territory.
"We cannot overstate the importance of good roads to our territory at this time," Christiansen said in a release issued Wednesday. She said the territory needs transportation infrastructure improvements in order to expand the economy.
Christiansen said the territory's tourism-based economy dependended on transportation.
If Congress approves funding for these projects, it will bring more than $130 million to the territory during the next four to six years, she said.
This year, the territory will receive about $13.6 million in TEA-21 funds. The money comes from the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gasoline tax.
Christiansen said she and the delegates from Guam and American Samoa are pressing their congressional colleagues to increase the funding to 1 percent of the TEA-21 funds. If that happens, the territory will receive nearly $20 million in federal highway funds for the next five to six years.
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