WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today announced that Oklahoma’s Bryan County has been selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to be awarded one of the first grants under the new Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program, referred to as the FASTLANE program. Bryan County will receive $62 million to improve safety and efficiency of high volume freight traffic along the US 69/75 corridor in southern Oklahoma.
As outlined by the FAST Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 4, 2015, USDOT is required to notify the authorizing committees of jurisdiction of projects being awarded under the new FASTLANE program. The list must remain with the committees for a 60-day review period before the agency can issue awards. USDOT notified the committees on July 5 of 18 projects selected to receive a total of $759 million in fiscal year 2016. A list of those projects is available by clicking here.
“I applaud Oklahoma’s local leaders for their hard work that resulted in our state being awarded one of the 18 new FASTLANE grants out of 212 applicants,” Inhofe said. "The $62 million in funding will compliment state funds for upgrading the US 69/75 corridor to improve freight movement and safety while also reducing congestion. The demand for FASTLANE, which authorized $800 million for 2016, has far exceeded expectations. The impressive turnout of applicants across the nation goes to show how critical freight investment is to our transportation system. This is the first grant program of this kind and size and its arrival is long awaited. I look forward to the continued success of the FASTLANE program as it is a significant tool to put America back on the map as the best place to do business.”
Oklahoma Endorsements of the FASTLANE grant for Bryan County:
“I am thrilled to hear of the news of the FASTLANE grant, which will be a huge benefit to Oklahoma but also to nationwide commerce and safety,” Mike Patterson, executive director for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said. “Thanks to the continued efforts and leadership of Senator Inhofe, this grant will help in upgrading US-69 for access and added connectivity. This grant is the answer to a long standing need that previously lacked the necessary funds. Construction of these grade separations between Durant and Calera will greatly improve traffic safety and the efficiency of freight traffic along this entire corridor, which connects many Oklahoma and regional industries to the nation.”
"In coordination with Senator Inhofe, Congressman Markwayne Mullin and Choctaw nation, we were able to narrow down the best project to put forward for grant consideration under the National Significant Freight and Highway Projects program,” Gary Ridley, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Transportation, said. “This is a prime example of Congress working together with the state and local representatives to advance a project of national importance. The US 69/75 corridor has become a dangerous corridor, resulting in numerous severe accidents over the years. This expansion project will improve overall safety for everyday users of the intersection corridor while also creating cost-saving efficiency in the movement of goods across the region."
“I’d like to thank Senator Inhofe and Congressman Mullin for their efforts behind this proposed grant award,” Gary Batton, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief, said. “The project will help reduce safety concerns, save lives, and enhance economic development for not only Durant but our gateway into Oklahoma. This achievement is a prime example of a cooperative partnership between the State, Choctaw Nation, and Federal level.”