MSU gets $7M TIGER grant for Bulldog Way project

The Hightower Road Corridor Project (to be named “Bulldog Way”) on the campus of Mississippi State University will integrate sustainable multimodal transportation improve­ments for students, faculty, staff and visitors of the University as well as residents of the surrounding community.
By: 
RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN EDITOR

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, on Tuesday announced a $7 million federal transportation grant for Mississippi State University to develop an approximately two-mile multimodal corridor on Hightower Road.
 
The 2017 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant was approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
 
“Mississippi State proposed this multimodal project to help alleviate gridlock and improve safety for students, faculty, visitors, and Starkville residents,” Cochran said.  “I’m pleased that the Department of Transportation will invest in this project, which will improve the overall quality of life for the Starkville and Oktibbeha County community.”

MSU spokesman Sid Salter said the Hightower Road Corridor Project, to be named “Bulldog Way," on the campus of Mississippi State University will integrate sustainable multimodal transportation improve­ments for students, faculty, staff and visitors of the University as well as residents of the surrounding community.

During the last decade, Salter said, Mississippi State University has experienced a tremendous growth in enrollment. During the 10-year period of 2006 through 2015, fall semester enrollment at MSU has grown from 14,422 to 20,429, a 42 percent increase.

"This growth has put a tremendous strain on the existing transportation infra­structure, both on campus and in the community," Salter said. "The Hightower Road Corridor Project in concert with other planned improvements seeks to alleviate this potential transportation “gridlock” by providing a needed north/south multimodal corridor on the eastern border of the campus to connect Blackjack Road with the northern portion of campus."

This project includes construction of approximately two miles of a new two lane north/south corridor. Also, the new “Bulldog Way” road will include associated connectors to existing campus roads/parking lots, installation of street lighting, and sidewalks throughout the majority of the improvements.

Bulldog Way will connect Blackjack Road to East Lee Boulevard.
 
Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, recommended the project last October in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
 
Congress annually appropriates funding for TIGER grants, which are awarded on a competitive and matching fund basis, and are directed toward projects that are expected to have a significant economic impact.  Since 2009, Mississippi has received nearly $100 million in TIGER funds.
 
Congressional appropriators are now in negotiations to set TIGER funding for FY2018. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee in July 2017 approved a bill recommending $550 million for TIGER grants in FY2018, $50 million more than the FY2017 funding level.

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