President Bush has signed the US Transportation Bill into law. The successor to the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA–21) will see $286.5 billion spent on US highway infrastructure from 2005 to 2009.
The bill covers a range of infrastructure initiatives, including construction, rehabilitation, road safety, environmental protection and the social impact of road building. In the Bill 25 large schemes have been designated ‘of national and regional significance,’ with a total spend of $2 billion.
The larger schemes include the Bakersfield Beltway System in California ($140 million), the O'Hare Bypass in Illinois ($140 million), the I–5 bridge repair and replacement in Oregon ($160 million), the Mississippi River Bridge in Illinois ($160 million) and the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall in Seattle, Washington ($120 million).
The signing took place at Caterpillar's factory in Montgomery, IL. Speaking at the signing, Bush said, “Our economy depends on us having the most efficient and reliable transportation system in the world. If we want people working in America, we've got to make sure our highways and roads are modern.” He added, “This bill is going to help modernise the highway system and improve quality of life for a lot of people.”