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The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved an $8.5 million grant toward the cost of repairing and rehabilitating three rail bridges in Arkansas.The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant was awarded to Fort Smith, Arkansas, announced U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack in a press release. All three are Republicans representing the state.One project calls for rehabilitating structural components and electrical and mechanical systems that control the lift span for a bridge that crosses the Arkansas River. For two bridges that cross Clear Creek, the projects call for replacing the timber trestles approaching the bridge span."Upgrading our infrastructure is necessary to continuing and growing economic development in the region. This investment in Fort Smith will improve transportation routes to move Arkansas goods around the world," said Boozman.More than 50 Arkansas businesses rely on the rail bridges for sending and receiving goods, noted Womack.The TIGER program is part of the USDOT. Funding is awarded to projects that have a significant economic impact on a region, metropolitan area or the nation as a whole, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The USDOT expects to announce all TIGER grant awards later this week, according to a department spokesman.
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