Millions of federal dollars are earmarked for transportation, housing, law enforcement and agriculture projects in Georgia and South Carolina as part of a $373 billion spending bill passed Thursday by the U.S. Senate and sent to President Bush for approval.
Included in the gargantuan Omnibus Appropriations Bill is $4 million for the second phase of the Bobby Jones Expressway/Palmetto Parkway extension into South Carolina, $2 million for roads related to riverfront redevelopment in North Augusta, and $4 million for the U.S. Highway 78/Bamberg Scenic Highway Project.
On the Georgia side, the bill includes millions for Augusta-area programs, including $2 million for a downtown railroad relocation project; $2.5 million for a new terminal at Augusta Regional Airport; $325,000 for infrastructure improvements at Golden Harvest Food Bank; $250,000 for the National Science Center Foundation; and $1.275 million for a Cancer Research Center at the Medical College of Georgia.
"... After a lot of hard work, it is good to see the inclusion of these projects," Rep. Max Burns, R-Ga., said in a prepared statement.
Mr. Burns said the jolt of federal dollars "will further the transportation and infrastructure development" in the Augusta area.
The railroad relocation funds involve the design phase of the project, not the actual removal of rails. The construction phase, which would center on a track at Walton Way and the one crossing Sixth Street, has been estimated to cost more than $90 million. No date has been set for this work.
A timetable for construction to begin on a new $30 million terminal at Augusta Regional Airport also has been set back from its original expected start date of late April or May. Airport officials say the project likely won't start until late summer or early fall.
In addition, the bill targets money for several statewide projects, including $3 million to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to upgrade its criminal justice information system and bolster its forensic laboratory. The bill also includes $500,000 for the expansion of the Winchester Conservation Museum in Edgefield.
"I am pleased that my colleagues have come together in a bipartisan fashion to finish the work on the federal budget," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said.
FUNDING FOR PROJECTS
A federal spending bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday includes:
Sources: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Max Burns, R-Ga.
Reach Walter C. Jones at (404) 589-8424 or Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225.