U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently visited construction of the future site of the Birmingham Intermodal Facility as part his "Invest in America, Commit to the Future" bus tour, calling it an investment in Alabama's economic future
that could be replicated across the country if congress would support a long-term transportation bill.
The intermodal facility will improve transit options and connect thousands of local residents to jobs and other opportunities in Birmingham and throughout Jefferson County. The secretary’s visit is part of a multi-state tour highlighting the need to continue to invest in America’s transportation infrastructure at a time when the nation’s surface transportation programs are set to expire and the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.
“Projects like the Birmingham Intermodal Facility not only create jobs, but also lay the foundation for long-term economic growth for entire regions and industries,” said Secretary Foxx. “I’m traveling across the country all week to highlight projects like this that show the difference we can make if we invest in America and commit to the future, because just fixing what we have today isn’t going to help us meet the transportation needs of the future.”
Officials broke ground on the new facility in March. The intermodal center, which is expected to be completed in 2015, will provide a convenient location in downtown Birmingham for residents to easily connect to and transfer between Amtrak, intercity bus routes and local MAX bus service. The Federal Transit Administration is providing approximately $24 million toward the $30-million facility, covering 80 percent of the cost of construction.
Also as part of the bus tour, Secretary Foxx recently joined Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to tour the east side of the Atlanta BeltLine.
The completed Atlanta BeltLine is expected to include a 22-mile streetcar loop with connections to the existing Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority rail system and the downtown Atlanta Streetcar Project, which is currently under construction and expected to open later this year. In addition to significantly improving access to transit options for thousands of residents in the Atlanta region, the BeltLine connects to affordable housing, hiking and walking trails, a skate park and open parkland.
The U.S Department of Transportation provided $18 million to support the Beltline project from its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program in FY 2013, in addition to a separate $47.7 million TIGER grant in FY 2010 for Atlanta’s streetcar.