LaHood reviews $536 million I-4 Connector

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Jan. 27 reviewed progress on the $536 million I-4/Lee Roy Selmon Expressway Connector and reiterated President Obama’s call for infrastructure investment and job creation as part of the “Blueprint for an America Built to Last.” He was joined at the site by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other state officials.

“President Obama made clear in his speech that our mission is to build an economy where we reward hard work and responsibility,” said LaHood in a written statement. “Investments in transportation projects like the I-4 Corridor mean job creation and economic growth. We have critical transportation work that needs to be done and Americans who are ready to get to work.”

LaHood’s visit follows President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he called for using funds saved from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay down the debt and on a transportation bill that would clear the way for nation building here in the United States.

The I-4/Lee Roy Selmon Expressway Connector, or “Crosstown Connector,” is a new, elevated roadway that will connect Interstate 4 with the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and link two major east-west corridors. This new roadway will significantly improve the movement of people and goods through the Tampa area by reducing congestion.

The project, which is using $105 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, will provide a truck-only direct access route to the Port of Tampa. The port generates $7.8 billion annually in economic benefits and 96,000 jobs in West and Central Florida, according to the state. The truck-only route also removes truck traffic from downtown Ybor City. In addition, the Crosstown Connector provides an evacuation route for area residents as well as an alternative route for commuters traveling into downtown Tam