Joplin receives $12 million grant from U.S. DoT

The grant, which puts the city with more than $250 million in federal aid, will assist in transportation recovery and enhancement.
A man finds a diploma in a pile of rubble in Joplin, Mo., after last year's devastating tornado. The $12 million TIGER Grant will go towards efforts to rebuild the town. Maneater File Photo

Aid for Joplin continues to roll in more than a year since a tornado ravaged the community.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the approval of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant June 19, which will funnel $12 million dollars into Joplin’s recovery effort to restore and enhance transportation.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., worked to pass the grant.

“When our kids and grandkids tell the story of Joplin, they won't just tell a story about a tornado — they'll tell a story about a community that rallied together, about the help that came from all corners of the country and about families that never gave up," McCaskill said in a news release. "Today's announcement, combined with the incredible amount of federal resources already on the ground, means that we're keeping that promise — that we're not giving up on Joplin.”

The TIGER program is a "highly competitive program that is able to fund innovative projects difficult or impossible to fund through other federal programs," according to a USDOT news release.

Transportation projects included in this grant include two highway-railroad grade separations, three roadway capacity improvements and bicycle and transit enhancements.

Joplin has received more than $250 million in direct aid from the federal government after approval of the grant. Most of the federal funding has been managed through the state of Missouri.

"For folks on the ground, these federal dollars will mean jobs, they'll mean business and they'll mean recovery," McCaskill said in the release. "In the days following the disaster, I stood on the ground in Joplin and made a promise to the folks there that we'd stick by them for the long haul — after the cameras were long gone."

Since the EF5 tornado May 22, 2011, which left an estimated 157 people dead and more than 1,000 people injured, Joplin has picked up the pieces.

“Joplin is going full-steam ahead," Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean said. "We have come very far. The aid we have received is significant. We are truly thankful to Sen. McCaskill for fighting for Joplin to get the grant.”

Eighty-five percent of businesses have reopened in Joplin since the disaster. Among those, 20 new businesses have opened their doors. Sixty-five percent of housing permits have been applied for, and construction is in the works.

“We are not looking back — we look forward, ahead," Clobert-Kean said. "We don’t want to be known as the town that the tornado hit. Look at us now, and look where we are going."

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