HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg is hoping to see more than $20 million in federal funding to aid in downtown road projects.
“The city is seeking and trying once again to solve its train issue,” Mayor Toby Barker said.
Federal funding could help alleviate traffic congestion in the downtown area due to railroad delays. During a special called meeting Tuesday, Hattiesburg City Council members voted in favor of requesting the federal dollars.
“This is a very important grant that I would like to see us acquire," Ward Three Councilman Carter Carroll said. "It’s so important that we get an overpass in downtown to help the traffic flow so it’s not bottled up like it has been for years.”
Barker said the city is applying for a $24 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund several projects, including the construction of two overpasses. One overpass would be built over the tracks at Hall and 6th Avenue. Among other improvements, Barker said you would also see roadway upgrades at Hall Avenue from West Pine to Bay Street.
“950 communities applied for this grant last year and fewer than 100 received it," Barker said. "So, it’s a long shot. However, what we are trying to do is be responsive to our citizen’s complaints and that is recognizing the trains are what they are, they were here first. But look at how we build a downtown transportation environment in downtown and in the surrounding downtown that is conducive to both pedestrians, vehicles, trains and cyclists.”
If awarded the federal funding, Barker said the city will match $8.5 million toward the projects.