The Federal Highway Administration is shelling out $140 million to 36 states and another $5.2 million to 14 states for transportation improvement projects and bridge construction and repair, respectively.

As part of the "Transportation, Community, and System Preservation" program, the $140 million in federal aid will go toward 249 different highway improvement projects, such as the widening of U.S. 17 in Putnam County, Fla., and streetscape improvements in Haverhill, Mass.

"Given the demands on the nation's transportation system, these grants will be a vital help to communities across the country," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The program was designed so states, local and Tribal governments could apply for federal funding to support methods of increasing transportation efficiency, roadway improvements and research. In addition to the Federal Highway Administration, it's also managed by the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Rail Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Separately, $5.2 million in grants will go to bridge improvement projects throughout the country through the Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment program. The program promotes more widespread use of effective and beneficial technologies and applications that are not common practice and encourages states to use these technologies. The initiative comes out of the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users," the last highway reauthorization.

"Advanced bridge construction and repair techniques cut construction time and repair costs, and ultimately reduce traffic delays," said Secretary LaHood. "These funds will be spent on improvements that ultimately offer a better experience for our nation's drivers."

For a list of grant recipients under the "Transportation, Community, and System Preservation" program, visit