Proposed Memphis highway project threatened by federal funding freeze

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently met with Memphis, Tennessee, Mayor A C Wharton to discuss the region’s proposed $262.5 million Lamar Avenue project.

"The Memphis area is one of the most important commuter and freight routes – and stretches of it have had high crash rates," Secretary Foxx said. "A serious, long-term funding plan is necessary to keep Tennessee's highways both safe and competitive, which is why Congress should act now."

The project would reduce congestion and improve overall road safety by widening SR 4/U.S. 78. Unfortunately, this project may not be feasible for several years because of a lack of federal funding. Foxx has started to visit several regions in a multistate tour to emphasize how crucial it is for America to invest in its infrastructure and to urge Congress to approve a long-term transportation bill.

"If more federal funds were available, Memphis' Lamar Avenue project would improve safety for the thousands of drivers who use the route each day," acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau said. "This is the kind of project that communities nationwide need more of, and which we hope Congress will help."

Wharton said Burlington Northern Santa Fe's massive intermodal facility, major warehouse distribution centers and office complexes that are accessed via U.S. 78 makes it a major commercial corridor.

"The freight truck and commuter traffic is enormous and puts a serious strain on infrastructure," Wharton said. "U.S. 78 is in dire need of significant improvements that can only be accomplished with the aid of federal dollars. For the sake of safety and continued economic growth and development in the region, we need Congress to pass the President's GROW AMERICA Act and get the money flowing to upgrade this major commercial artery as soon as possible."