Alexander: $71 Million Critical to Memphis as “America’s Distribution Center”

Posted on June 5, 2018

“This federal grant will support thousands of jobs—and it’ll help Memphians used to being stuck in Lamar Avenue traffic get to work on time.”

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that a $71 million federal transportation grant to cut congestion on Lamar Avenue in Memphis “will support thousands of jobs—and it’ll help Memphians used to being stuck in Lamar Avenue traffic get to work on time.”

“Right now, if you take Lamar Avenue, you’re probably late to work, but this $71 million federal grant is critical to Memphis as ‘America’s distribution center’ – it will be used to widen and improve the road, and move cars and freight through Memphis more quickly,” Alexander said. “The City of Memphis is vital to the nation’s ability to move goods – and more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, including FedEx and BNSF, along with 1,100 transportation, distribution, and logistics companies call Lamar Avenue home – but it is severely congested. The Port of Memphis is the 5th largest inland port in the United States, and the city is served by five class I railroads, which means thousands of jobs depend on making sure freight can more easily move through Memphis.”

Alexander continued: “This was a highly competitive grant – 235 applicants requested more than $12 billion, and Memphis will receive $71 million of that. This award is a great compliment to the city of Memphis and to our state.”

The funding will be used to widen and improve Lamar Avenue, a congested roadway that serves regionally and nationally significant freight facilities, including the BNSF intermodal rail yard, the Memphis International Airport, the FedEx Worldwide headquarters, and the Port of Memphis.   

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the City of Memphis applied for federal funding under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s fiscal year 2017 Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program, which is intended to provide federal funding for highway and freight projects of national and regional significance. TDOT has included Lamar Avenue improvements in its three-year transportation plan.

On October 31, 2017, Senator Alexander sent Transportation Secretary Chao a letter supporting TDOT and the City of Memphis’ application for INFRA grant funds. The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the grant has been approved.