Over the past two days, I’ve visited projects where investment in transportation has made a huge difference in peoples’ lives, creating jobs and lifting whole communities. Unfortunately, there are some communities where there isn’t enough funding for investments like these.
That’s why I visited Nashville, Tennessee this afternoon – meeting with Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee DOT – to see the I-40 bridges.
These bridges carry 130,000 cars every day. They help businesses move goods, and connect residents to jobs and schools.
But these bridges were also built in 1968. They are 46-years-old this year. As I know all too well, things in their forties start to show their age.
In fact, just last summer, the Charlotte Avenue bridge was closed not once, but three times, because chunks of concrete kept crumbling and falling onto cars and the roadway.
Needless to say, no one is debating these bridges need to be restored. And, as it turns out, Tennessee’s DOT has drawn up a great plan to restore them to peak condition.
The plan would rehabilitate the steel and bridge decks on all four bridges, and re-pave about three miles of connecting roadways on I-40.
Everyone should be on board with this project. We at DOT are on board. Tennessee is on board.
But unless we do something to change the way we pay for transportation projects this country, the money just isn’t there.
This is why I am out here, traveling the country and making the case to provide cities and communities who rely on good transportation infrastructure with the funding stability that can only be found in a multi-year transportation bill.
Stayed tuned for more updates from the road at http://www.dot.gov/invest-in-america.