U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced that several Oklahoma communities received BUILD Grants from the Department of Transportation totaling $26.5 million today. Inhofe advocated for each of the grants through letters to Secretary Chao.
The grants included $14.3 million for Oklahoma City’s Bus Rapid Transit system that will strengthen rural access and improve economic vitality; $5.7 million to protect, sustain and enhance the rail system at the Port of Muskogee to improve economic opportunity at the port and $6.5 million for safety improvements and transportation infrastructure in Tulsa.
Senator Inhofe praised the grants, saying: “Federal investment in Oklahoma infrastructure continues to pay dividends for citizens across the state. These grants to improve bus transit lines in Oklahoma City and Tulsa will foster economic growth, support accessibility and provide critical safety advancements for the community. Furthermore, upgrades to the rail system at the Port of Muskogee will cement its future as a regional hub for jobs and industry. Congratulations to Tulsa, Oklahoma City and the Port of Muskogee for being awarded these key grants.”
The grants were also praised by community stakeholders:
“This summer, Tulsa will be one of the first 12 cities in the United States to operate bus rapid transit lines providing more accessibility to our residents,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “I would like to thank Senator Inhofe for his help in securing this grant for our city that will ensure additional safety and connectivity components on two of our busiest corridors in Tulsa – Peoria Avenue and Route 66.”
“Coming on the heels of our streetcar and the addition of Sunday bus service, this BRT grant solidifies 2018 as the best year for OKC transit in modern memory,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said. “This is a major grant and a major achievement for Oklahoma City. On behalf of the people of Oklahoma City, thank you to our federal delegation, especially Senator Inhofe, and thank you to the US Department of Transportation. We look forward to turning this dream into reality.”
“This is great news for Muskogee and the Port. Modern rail access for manifest and unit train service will ensure the continued growth and success of the Port of Muskogee for years to come,” Scott Robinson, Port Director, Port of Muskogee said. “This Grant will also allow the Port of Muskogee to retain its manufacturing and logistics base, support local industry expansion and attract new industry, all of which brings private investment and quality jobs to Muskogee, the State and the Nation.
Robinson continued: “Transportation serves an important role in rural America and that remains so in northeast Oklahoma. This grant will allow for rail capacity and efficiency to be secured at the Port for the long-term future; multimodal cost advantages for rail to barge transportation will continue; and the Port will be capable of securing industrial prospects, thus enhancing the global reach for a rural area and the U.S. We appreciate the support of Senator Inhofe for this important project.”
“The BUILD grant “LINK Tulsa: Leveraging Intelligent Networks and Key-Corridors” will enhance safety for all users, help traffic flow and improve the transit ridership experience along two major arterial street corridors in Tulsa,” Rich Brierre, Executive Director, Indian Nations Council of Governments said. “Installing Fiber/Broadband connectivity along these two important corridors will modernize the antiquated traffic signals to reduce delay and enable traffic engineers to manage these priority corridors for improved safety. The announcement today of the BUILD grant reinforces the continuing need, long championed by Senator Inhofe, to maintain, modernize and upgrade transportation infrastructure which is the backbone of our economy.”