Press Release

For Immediate Release

April 28, 2009

Contact: 202-521-3850

Email: info@mcc.gov

Salvadoran President Inaugurates Construction on MCC-Funded Highway Project

Improved Transnational Highway will create market access for El Salvadors Northern region

Washington, D.C.  El Salvadors President Elas Antonio Saca joined the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Governments Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador, the National Commission on Development, FOMILENIO and local Salvadoran mayors and governors today to celebrate the beginning of construction of the Northern Transnational Highway. The highway is the major project under the $461 million compact between El Salvador and MCC. This highway will link the Northern Zone to other parts of El Salvador and will connect with neighboring Guatemala and Honduras.

The leadership symbolized by todays ceremony is powerful proof that our partnership is a wise investment of U.S. funds in helping forge a more prosperous future for the Americas, said MCC Acting CEO Rodney Bent. For more than 50 years Salvadorans have dreamed of a modern, strategic highway that will link small towns through the Northern Zone. The Northern Transnational Highway is a symbol of opportunity; a symbol that national development is a national priority that transcends politics.

”“This is a historic moment for El Salvador and the people living in the northern zone,”“ said U.S. Charge dAffaires Robert Blau. ”“Through the collaborative cooperation and dedication of the U.S. Embassy, MCC, FOMILENIO, and the efforts of President Saca this highway, which will lead to economic prosperity, is now a becoming a reality.”“

These infrastructure improvements will have an important impact on efforts to reduce poverty in Central America. The Northern Transnational Highway will unite the Northern Zone with the rest of El Salvador through a modern road system, and is expected to cut travel time from Metapn to Chalatenango from four hours to approximately 45 minutes. Spanning about 290 kilometers (180 miles), the highway is expected to extend from the Guatemalan border in the northwest corner of El Salvador, across the northern part of the country to the Honduran border in the east. The construction of the highway will provide immediate jobs, spur regional trade, and help build a long-term foundation for new business activity in the region.

The contract for construction of the first segment of the highway, signed earlier this month, covers 23 kilometers of road including 150 meters over the Ro Lempa, the largest river in the country. Over 300 jobs will be created to complete the construction on this first segment.

A team of senior MCC officials also visited other projects and beneficiaries funded through the MCC compact with El Salvador, including a local school undergoing extensive infrastructure repairs. MCC is providing scholarships for technical and vocational training to 40 students who attend the school, enabling them to learn skills for more productive professional lives. In addition, the MCC officials viewed first-hand the agricultural assistance being provided to more than 3,000 farmers and agricultural enterprises in the area to increase productivity and raise incomes. MCC investments have also enabled FOMILENIO, the Salvadoran entity implementing the compact, to begin the first phase of building 115 kilometers of rural electrical lines and to install 450 solar panels that will impact the lives of over 2,000 isolated households.

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The Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government agency designed to work with developing countries, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth.For more information, please visit www.mcc.gov.