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TDOT Seeks $180 Million Grant to Move Lamar Avenue Projects Forward

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer joined state and local officials in Memphis on Tuesday, June 21, to announce TDOT’s application for $180 million in federal grant funds to help move the Lamar Avenue (US 78/SR 4) widening projects forward. The FASTLANE grant program is a new federal program to fund critical freight and highway projects across the country. TDOT is applying for $180 million of the $800 million set aside for fiscal year 2016.
“Tennessee needs a strong freight network to keep our economy growing and strengthen our ability to attract high quality jobs,” Governor Bill Haslam said. “If approved, this funding will improve Lamar Avenue, a critical thoroughfare and transportation hub for the whole state.”
“Lamar Avenue is a nationally significant freight corridor that links interstates, airports, and ports and it’s imperative that we improve its efficiency and capacity now,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “This FASTLANE grant could move these important projects forward years before we may otherwise be able to do so.”
Lamar Avenue is home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, and supports over 1,100 transportation, distribution, and logistics companies that employ approximately 42,000 people. The road serves Memphis International Airport, North America’s largest air cargo airport and home of FedEx world headquarters. Lamar Avenue also runs parallel to BNSF intermodal yard, which has capacity of one million lifts.
““The Lamar Avenue projects are critical for continued growth of the existing businesses here, as well as the attraction of new businesses,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland added. “This corridor is key in our efforts to provide job opportunities for our residents and reduce the amount of poverty across the city.”
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell also stressed the regional benefits of improving Lamar Avenue. “Nearly 140,000 people commute into Shelby County to work each day. Addressing the congestion challenges now will provide benefits to our surrounding states and foster further momentum for the southeast industrial market.”
“Lamar Avenue represents just one percent of the Memphis area, but accounts for almost 20 percent of the jobs in the city,” Memphis Chamber of Commerce President Phil Trenary said. “The reality is that we have already lost opportunities to bring more businesses and more jobs to Memphis because of the severe deficiencies of this road.”
TDOT estimates it will cost $300 million to complete the three projects currently under development to increase capacity and safety along Lamar Avenue. That figure represents more than half of the dollars TDOT has to spend on projects in all 95 Tennessee counties each year.
It’s expected the U.S. Department of Transportation will award the $800 million in FASTLANE grants sometime this summer.

Posted: 6/22/2016 10:51:21 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: application, Avenue, Chamber, FASTLANE, grant, Greater, improvements, Lamar, Memphis, road, TDOT

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