Federal bill includes more than $150M for Miss.

Published 1:23 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The final version of a massive federal spending bill includes more than $150 million for specific projects in Mississippi, the state’s two U.S. senators said.

Republicans Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker said the bill covers transportation, education, health, military and cultural projects. It also funds regional or national projects that could affect the state, including $5 million for an assessment of heart disease among minorities in the Delta and $20 million nationwide for the Teach for America program that helps bring educators to needy schools.

The Senate approved the bill Sunday and sent it to President Barack Obama.

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If the president signs the bill into law, Mississippi will get money for several transportation projects, including $2.5 million for runway and taxiway improvements at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, $2.3 million for improvements at Jackson-Evers International Airport and $2 million to help pay for runway extension and taxiway improvements at Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Lowndes County and $1 million for runway improvements at Mid-Delta Regional Airport in Greenville.

The bill includes $14.3 million for a new National Guard center in Monticello, $16.1 million for a Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center south of Hattiesburg, $9.8 million for an Air Force Reserve Aerial Port at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi and $9.8 million for an aircraft fuel maintenance facility at Columbus Air Force Base.

The bill has funding for several Mississippi cultural projects, including $700,000 to help pay for the first phase of a Walter Anderson Arts Pavilion in Jackson County, $500,000 for the Burns Belfry Community Heritage Center in Oxford, $500,000 to help pay for the 41-mile Hattiesburg Longleaf Trace Rails to Trails project, $300,000 for the Mississippi Children’s Museum being built in Jackson and $195,000 for an Emmett Till Memorial Complex and Trail in Tallahatchie County.

Universities and community colleges would receive funding.

The bill includes $8 million for University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Arthur C. Guyton Laboratory.

Mississippi State University would receive $6 million to continue building the MSU Research, Technology and Economic Development Park.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Marine Aquaculture Center would get $3.7 million to develop and find commercial uses for new aquaculture technology.

The National Center for Biodefense Communications at Jackson State University would receive $750,000.