Congressman Cohen Thanks Transportation Secretary Buttigieg for Memphis Visit to Address Hernando DeSoto Bridge Closure

June 3, 2021
Press Release
“He recognizes Memphis as America’s distribution center”

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, today welcomed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to Memphis for discussions on the economic impact of the closure of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge. Congressman Cohen participated in the Secretary’s roundtable discussion with stakeholders in the freight-hauling business at FedEx, joined the Secretary on an inspection of the damaged bridge section, and then spoke at a press conference with the Secretary.

In his remarks, with the outline of the iconic bridge over the Mississippi River as a backdrop, Congressman Cohen said:

“Secretary Buttigieg made a special visit here to Memphis. I appreciate it greatly and I think everybody in Tennessee and Arkansas do as well…He recognizes Memphis as America’s Distribution Center and the center of the country and how the I-40 bridge carries commerce all throughout the country so what happens here affects everywhere else.

“He knows the history of the railroads and the river and the runways – the roads and rails – and that’s Memphis. We had a good opportunity to talk – some situations in Memphis we need to improve with jobs and transportation, because transportation means jobs. So we’re fortunate that he’s here today.

“Some of you know I had polio as a child so the idea of a ‘poster child’ is something I’ve kind of grown up with. It’s kind of a shame that Memphis has to be the poster child for infrastructure failure. But because of that, we’ve given a whistle – a canary in the coal mine – to the rest of the country about what they need to look out for in the way of infrastructure and deficiencies and possible problems, and why this (infrastructure) bill is so important to protect American citizens as well as American commerce.”

See his entire remarks here.

In his remarks, Secretary Buttigieg noted that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is holding a markup of its surface transportation reauthorization legislation next Wednesday and Thursday, and commended Congressman Cohen for his work on the Committee to improve the nation’s infrastructure.