U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today approved increasing the federally-funded share for the U.S. 31 Hamilton County Improvement Project in Indiana to 90 percent. The 90 percent match represents about a $23 million increase over the original 80 percent match. The project is the first to benefit from a new provision in surface transportation legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), that gives the Secretary discretion to raise the allowable federal match on eligible critical freight projects.
"Freight movement is critical to building a strong economy, and we support Indiana's commitment to this very important project," said Secretary LaHood. "New flexibilities in MAP-21 will make it easier for all states to move important freight projects forward."
The U.S. 31 project is part of a larger Indianapolis to South Bend corridor INDOT is rebuilding to handle increasing traffic, including more than 6,600 trucks using the corridor each day. The increased federal share will allow the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to use $207 million in federal dollars toward the total project cost of $230 million.
"The U.S. 31 project will relieve congestion and allow area residents to spend less time in traffic and more time doing what they enjoy, and it will also reduce the time it takes to deliver merchandise," FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez said. "It's a win-win-win for residents, businesses and commerce."
INDOT will upgrade U.S. 31 to interstate standards and convert it to a limited access freeway with entry and exit points only at certain interchanges to improve traffic flow. The project involves 13 miles of new alignment, widening from four to six lanes and building nine new interchanges.