Stimulus money for improvements totals $51 million A portion of President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package will fund a new 13-mile segment of the Sam Houston Tollway and a noise mitigation study and project at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport. U.S. Representatives Ted Poe and Gene Green secured $50 million for the Harris County Toll Road Authority to begin construction on the additional six lanes of toll roads from east of U.S. Highway 59 to south of U.S. 90A East. The $100 million project will also add four flyovers to the 59 and Beltway 8 intersection. Poe said crews will begin work immediately on the first portion of the improvements. He plans to secure the rest of the funding next year. “Transportation has not kept up with population growth in the area,” he said. “This helps the economy and helps people get to work faster.” The tollway improvements will create jobs in a time of economic downturn, Green said in a press release. The flyovers will serve approximately 2.5 million residents in northern Harris and southern Montgomery counties, the release said. Poe said he believes many of the pet projects funded through the stimulus bill support special interests and do not help any residents. “There are numerous projects that are government waste,” he said. “What I ask is, ‘Will the project benefit the greatest good in the area rather than funding private entities?’ Funding should help the citizens in a district.” The congressman also secured $712,500 for a noise mitigation study at the airport. Officials will use the money to assess the impact of a proposed additional east-to-west runway. Aircraft noise has been a chief concern in neighborhoods near the airport for years. Some of the money will be used to soundproof some adjacent neighborhoods, he said. “Airport expansion is a continuous concern,” Poe said. “We have thousands moving in every month around the airport. We want to make sure the airport is a good airport.”

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