WDAM-TV Hattiesburg

Dept. of Transportation awards $28.4M RAISE grants to two Mississippi cities

By WDAM Staff

LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Infrastructure projects in two Mississippi towns received a significant funding boost after a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The funding, which totals $28,382,500, comes through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) grant program for projects in Laurel and Meridian.

“These grants are a significant investment and represent a major victory for Laurel and Meridian,” said U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS). “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.”

Of the total amount, the city of Laurel will receive a $24.8 million grant to help improve the roads along the northern edge of downtown Laurel. It will cover multiple projects along the east and west spine of 5th Street, Sawmill Road, Magnolia Street and Teresa Street that would replace aging roadways dangerous for vehicles and pedestrians. Specifically, the RAISE grant would fund road reconstruction, a new roundabout, lighting, landscaped medians, new ADA-compliant sidewalks and new lane markings.

U.S. Representative Mike Ezell (R-MS) said he was happy to see the RAISE funds used for important projects in his district.

“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,” said Ezell. “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 city of Meridian will receive a $3.5 million grant to help improve a nearly seven-mile section of North Hills Street between Mississippi Highway 19 and the city limits east of MS Highway 39. It will cover 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.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a ranking member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee, said these projects in Laurel and Meridian were prime examples of what RAISE funds could do.

“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,” said Hyde-Smith.  “I appreciate the transportation department for making this investment in Mississippi.”

The highly-competitive RAISE Grant program is one of the few DOT discretionary programs for which regional and local governments can directly compete for multimodal transportation funding. The program replaced the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation grants program and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.