April 2, 2004 – The Virgin Islands would receive $134 million in federal funding over the next six years for road and mass transit improvements under a highway transportation bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, according to Delegate Donna M. Christensen.
The new Transportation Equity Act, or TEA, represents "significant increases" in federal funding for highway programs in the territory, Christensen said in a release. Most recently, she said, the Virgin Islands has received $13.9 million in annual highway funding. That would add up to $83.4 million over six years.
Under the House-approved TEA, "the Virgin Islands is set to receive approximately $16 million for the first year, $18 million in the second year and $20 million per year for the four years after that," she said.
In addition, the House legislation includes $7 million for the second phase of the Christiansted Bypass project on St. Croix and $7 million for the reconstruction and improvement of Scott Free Road on St. Thomas.
The measure also includes a technical amendment changing the territory's designation to "urbanized area" for the purpose of mass transit funding, Christensen said. This would result in an increase in funding to operate a modern transit system — to $1 million a year for the next six years from the current level of $150,000 a year, she said.
She said the increase "represents a significant shot in the arm for our VITRAN bus system."
Christensen expressed appreciation to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull his office for their efforts in support of the legislation that "has netted substantial gains for the territory" in the House measure.
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