Secretary Napolitano Announces ARRA Funding of Coast Guard Improvement Projects
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that a series of U.S. Coast Guard projects designed to provide critical improvements and create jobs will be funded by an infusion of $240 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
“Funding these important projects with Recovery Act dollars will strengthen our economy and improve the Coast Guard’s ability to keep America safe,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I am proud that the Department of Homeland Security can play a major role in our nation’s economic recovery.”
The ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 19, committed more than $3 billion for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and General Services Administration (GSA) in support of DHS programs.
A total of $240 million was provided by ARRA to the Coast Guard. $142 million will be used to fund bridge alterations projects on the Mobile Bridge in Hurricane, Ala., the EJ&E Bridge in Devine, Ill., the Burlington Bridge in Burlington, Iowa, and the Galveston Causeway Railroad Bridge in Galveston, Texas.
In addition, $88 million in ARRA funds will allow for the construction of buildings to house Coast Guard Sectors in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Fla., as well as shore infrastructure projects—construction of personnel housing, boat moorings and other improvements—in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, North Carolina, Virginia and Delaware.
Finally, $10 million will help upgrade or replace worn or obsolete components on the Coast Guard’s fleet of 12 high-endurance cutters, including upgrades to boiler controls, refrigeration systems and automatic bus transfer switches, and replacements of fire pumps, fire and smoke detection systems and auxiliary saltwater pumps. The 40-plus-year-old cutters benefiting from the ARRA-funded projects are homeported in Seattle, Alameda, Calif., Kodiak, Alaska, Honolulu, San Diego and Charleston, S.C.
The ARRA funding for bridge alterations will leverage an additional $120.4 million in previously appropriated non-ARRA funds, making a total of $262.4 million available for the bridge alteration projects and economic stimulus.
The bridges receiving updates are identified as unreasonable obstructions to navigation and, in accordance with the Truman-Hobbs Act, alteration is required to improve safe navigation. For example, the Galveston Causeway Railroad Bridge’s restrictive 104-foot horizontal clearance, along with other factors, has led to more than 100 allisions since 1990, causing millions of dollars in damage. The current Galveston project proposes replacing the existing bridge with a vertical lift bridge that allows a horizontal opening of 300 feet and a clearance of 73 feet when the bridge is open.
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