Arkansas Members Engaged on Response Effort
WASHINGTON – Members of the Arkansas and Tennessee Congressional Delegations urged U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to support the efforts to safely and efficiently repair the Interstate 40 bridge connecting their two states during a phone call today convened by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR).
“I appreciate Secretary Buttigieg’s willingness to discuss the I-40 bridge closure in more detail and his commitment to work with the Arkansas and Tennessee Departments of Transportation. This critical artery for the region must be safely reopened as soon as possible,” Boozman said. “Working together, we can mitigate continued disruption to commerce and transportation needs along this corridor.”
“Arkansas workers and business rely on the I-40 bridge every day to get to work and ship products around the country. My office will continue to work with the Arkansas Department of Transportation and Secretary Buttigieg to keep Arkansans safe as work continues to fix this critical route across the Mississippi,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said.
“I’m appreciative of Secretary Buttigieg as well as my Arkansas and Tennessee colleagues’ time and energy on repairing one of the largest economic hubs in America. It is vital to our national security that commercial traffic regain access to one of the most efficient and widely used transportation routes from the east coast to west coast. I’m optimistic that with all hands on deck the costs to American families will be minimal and businesses will no longer need to distress over the flow of commerce along and across the Mississippi River,” said Representative Rick Crawford (AR-01).
Secretary Buttigieg assured members the DOT is working with both states’ transportation departments to ensure a pathway to efficiently repairing and reopening the bridge and that his staff would continue to communicate with and update the lawmakers as the process advances.
Boozman advocated for the department to follow the example of cooperative, efficient and timely completion that proved successful in rebuilding the Interstate 35W bridge in downtown Minneapolis in 2007.
During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Thursday, Boozman called on DOT leaders to support collaboration at all levels and stressed how the incident is a real-world example of the need to make a targeted investment in core infrastructure like roads and bridges.