April 20, 2009
Coast Guard projects get Recovery Act funding
Upgrades to several bridges that are hazards to navigation are among a number of Coast Guard projects being funded by by an infusion of $240 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The largest chunk--$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.
These bridges have been 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.
The ARRA funding for bridge alterations will leverage an additional $120.4 million in previously appropriated non-ARRA funds.
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.