The Texas Transportation Commission approved more than $3,195,000 in new highway funding for improvements to U.S. Highway 181 in Bee County.
The projects are being funded with approximately $1.2 billion made available to state transportation officials under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the federal economic stimulus package, State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles reported Friday.
Toureilles’ House District includes Bee County.
When combined with available funding from other agencies and resources, stimulus-related highway construction will total more than $2.6 billion across the state, she said.
“I’m appreciative of TxDOT’s focus on addressing transportation projects based on criteria that seeks to enhance the long-term economic benefit to local communities and regions, particularly in areas considered economically distressed,” Rep. Toureilles said. “The projects will not only improve highway safety and streamline travel, but provide much needed jobs and opportunities for small and large businesses within our communities.”
Planned highway projects within Bee County include resurfacing U.S. 181, beginning at the Karnes County line to 0.76 miles south of FM 1465. The project is expected to cost $2,492,100. Another section of U.S. 181 also will be resurfaced. That section of the roadway starts 0.76 miles south of FM 1465 to Bee Street in Normanna and will cost an estimated $702,900.
Economic stimulus money also will be used to fund anti-crime programs in Beeville and Bee County.
The City of Beeville is set to receive $21,312, while Bee County will receive $13,015 under the Department of Justice’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa announced Tuesday.
Hinojosa’s 15th Congressional District includes Bee County.
The anti-crime program provides support for a diverse range of law enforcement, prosecutorial and other initiatives to prevent and control crime, he explained.
“Providing law enforcement agencies with the necessary resources to keep our communities safe is incredibly important,” Hinojosa said. “Unfortunately, due to current economic conditions, too many of our cities and counties are stretched to the limit. This stimulus money comes at not a moment too soon. It will make sure Bee County’s neighborhoods remain secure while preventing harmful cutbacks that could take police officers off our streets.”
Justice Assistance Grant money can be used by local governments to fund drug and gang task forces, cold case units, identity theft investigations, school violence prevention programs, witness protection programs, victims’ rights and hate crime programs, he noted. The money can go toward providing technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support and information systems for criminal justice, he added.
The JAG funds are provided thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the economic stimulus bill.
“This legislation will create or save 3.5 million jobs, immediately cut taxes for 95 percent of workers, and begin a historic economic transformation that will make the nation more globally competitive and energy independent,” Hinojosa said.
“The money is to be invested quickly in the economy – with an estimated 74 percent spent in the first 18 months, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.”