A congressional reception honoring "Champions of Transportation" and the 2008 America’s Transportation Awards Projects was held last night at the Rayburn House Office Building, near the U.S. Capitol.
The America’s Transportation Awards competition, which is sponsored by the American Automobile Association (AAA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), recognizes outstanding transportation projects, large and small in communities across the country.
Several members of Congress who represent the districts served by these projects were recognized as "Champions of Transportation" for their support. "Smart investment in transportation does not occur in a vacuum. It requires the leadership and commitment of elected officials at the local, state and federal level," said John Horsley, AASHTO executive director. "These outstanding projects are making communities safer and better and they showcase what happens when we work together." Horsley said.
The 2008 America’s Transportation Award Grand Prize was shared by the states of Maryland and Virginia, builders of the massive Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The prize, which carries a $20,000 graduate-level scholarship in the transportation field, was awarded for the $2.47 billion project that will unclog one of the worst bottlenecks on the East Coast. The old, six-lane bridge is being replaced with a modern 12-lane structure that will separate local and through traffic, has room for future mass transit, and ties communities together with hiker/biker trails.
The winner of the 2008 People’s Choice Award went to the state of Mississippi for its reconstruction of the Bay Saint Louis Bridge destroyed by hurricane Katrina. The original bridge was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, forcing traffic to be diverted for more than 40 miles. The new $267 million replacement bridge carries U.S. 90 between Henderson Point and Bay St. Louis. AASHTO will donate $10,000 to a community program selected by Mississippi as part of the Award.
There were eight regional winners and finalist for the top two prizes:
- California’s MacArthur Maze project
- Florida’s Open Road Tolling project
- the I-35 Interchange project in Kansas
- the Route 830 Airport Access Project in Pennsylvania
- the Trunk Highway 36 Reconstruction Project in Minnesota
- Utah’s 4500 South Bridge Replacement Project
- the Tacoma Narrows bridge replacement project in Washington State
- Rhode Island’s Iway Bridge Float – were finalist for the top two prizes.
The 2009 America’s Transportation Awards competition begins in March.
For more information on these award winning projects and the jobs that were created by them, visit http://www.americastransportationaward.org.