Congressman Cohen Announces $12 Million Grant to Memphis Area Transit Authority

November 6, 2019
Press Release
Underwrites eight-mile rapid transit bus line and nine electric buses


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, today announced that the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) will be receiving a $12 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant.  The federal funding will be used to create a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line along the eight-mile designated Innovation Corridor linking downtown Memphis to the Medical District, along the Overton Square entertainment district, past the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on Poplar and on to the University of Memphis campus.  


The U.S. Department of Transportation grant, which Congressman Cohen endorsed in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in July, would include construction of 28 new transit stations and nine new electric buses equipped with Wi-Fi and electric charging docks. 


Congressman Cohen, a longtime advocate of MATA, made the following statement: 


“This grant is huge for Memphis. The $65.5 million Innovation Corridor project today’s grant supports includes elements of Memphis’s commitment to Complete Streets, including improvements to Union Avenue, sidewalks along Poplar Avenue, a pedestrian crosswalk at the Benjamin Hooks Library and access to bicycle routes. It will enhance both safety and employment opportunities for our city.” 


Congressman Cohen hosted a Complete Streets Roundtable discussion last month with various transportation, urban planning and other expert stakeholders in the community. Congressman Cohen also introduced the Complete Streets Act (H.R. 3663) in July, which  would create a grant program to fund “Complete Streets” projects to make transit routes safer and more accessible. Through this program, eligible local and regional entities could apply for technical assistance and capital funding to build safe streets projects, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus stops.