I am proud to have the honor of representing Memphis, the transportation capitol of the United States and the world, on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. When it comes to transportation assets, no place in the world can rival Memphis. With regards to aviation services, Memphis has the busiest cargo airport in the world for the last 18 years and a passenger transfer hub operated by Delta Air Lines, the premier global airline. The combination of the airport services with Memphis' existing three interstates, its five Class I railroads, and the fourth largest inland port in the United States makes Memphis a logistics dynamo. Transportation is the economic engine of Memphis, and I am committed to working to ensure that it remains the number one transportation infrastructure town in America.
The number one priority and issue for me and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is the passage of the next surface transportation authorization legislation. SAFETEA-LU, the current surface transportation authorization, expired on September 30, 2009, and Congress has yet to pass a new authorization. The importance of immediate passage cannot be emphasized enough. Not only will reauthorization create millions of quality jobs and allow states and cities to continue their work with a known, dedicated funding stream, but it will begin to address the dire need for long-term investment in the nation's surface transportation system.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the transportation system is that the cost of needed maintenance of existing surface transportation infrastructure assets continues to increase. As a result, the quality of our transportation system is deteriorating. Recent studies conducted by the Department of Transportation show that -
* Almost 61,000 miles, 37 percent, of all lane miles on the National Highway System (NHS) are in poor or fair condition.
* More than 152,000 bridges - one of every four bridges in the United States - are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
* More than 32,500 public transit buses and vans in urban areas have exceeded their useful life.
* Congestion is crippling our major cities and even our small towns, at a cost of more than $87 billion a year, causing hardship for drivers and increasing costs and inefficiencies for America's businesses.
* Accidents and traffic delays cost Americans more than $365 billion a year - $1 billion a day - or $1,200 for every man, woman, and child in the nation.
These deficiencies indicate a clear need to immediately invest in our infrastructure and services.
As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am currently working with Congressional leaders to provide authorization funding for highway and infrastructure projects of importance to the city of Memphis. Investment in public transit, highways, bridges, commuter and freight rail as well as various transit hubs, including Memphis International Airport, plays a vital role in furthering development in our community.
During the 111th Congress, I helped secure more than $112 million in transportation and infrastructural investment through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, appropriations bills, and other federal grant programs. Some examples of transportation projects include:
* $17,772,564 to replace 35 buses and install advanced transportation technology on transit vehicles and trolleys.
* $2,979,271 for the Memphis Clifford Davis-Odell Horton Federal Building
* $4,163,630 for a surface repaving project on I-240 from Madison Avenue to I-55 and on I-55 from Nonconnah Creek to I-240.
* $17,941,582 to construct a new taxiway, improve the terminal building, install airfield guidance signs and perimeter fencing, and make runway improvements at Memphis International Airport.
* $1,603,000 for Dredging and Mapping at McKellar Lake.
From my position on the committee, I have fought hard to maintain the viability of FedEx and will continue to do so as your representative. Federal Express is the world's largest express transportation company and has made Memphis International Airport the largest cargo operation of any airport in the world, providing fast and reliable services for more than 2.8 million items to over 220 countries each working day.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
In order to rebuild our weakening economy, investments in our infrastructure will put Tennesseans immediately to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges and will also enable the creation of a stronger and more efficient infrastructure for the 21st century economy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes $701,516,776 in Transportation and Infrastructure Investment for the State of Tennessee:
* $572,701,043 for Highways and Bridges
* $71,988,324 in Transit Capital Investments
* $57,814,400 for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund
* $28,040 for Transit Fixed-Guideway Modernization
During the 111th Congress, I have introduced several pieces of legislation that will improve the transportation infrastructure in Memphis, create thousands of jobs, and make the city more economically competitive.