By Kevin McClintock
JOPLIN, Mo. —
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was on-hand Tuesday to announce $12 million in federal grant money to continue the city's economic recovery from last year's devastating tornado.
The money will primarily be used to build to build two overpasses over twin train crossings located at 15th and 20th streets.
"This kind of investment in Joplin, and to Joplin's transportation and infrastructure, creates good jobs for Jasper County and continues your mission of recovery (as well as) laying down a strong foundation for future economic growth," LaHood said during a morning press conference at Joplin City Hall.
The $12 million Joplin application was one of 703 applications received for TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funds, LaHood said. Of those 703 applications, only 47 were granted. The Joplin request was the only Missouri grant given the green-light by the federal agency. This proves "there's a pent-up demand in America for infrastructure money; a pent-up demand in America to put our friends and neighbors to work."
TIGER funding was created when President Obama established the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or the economic stimulus package, within weeks of taking office. LaHood said The Joplin grant, and others, proves the much derided stimulus package has been a success.
"For those people who said the economic stimulus (package) didn't work, that's baloney. It did work. It's working right here (in Joplin)."