I-40 bridge shutdown: Hagerty says Biden showing ‘lack of urgency’

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 3:10 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The I-40 bridge shutdown is about to enter a second week.

While state leaders in Arkansas and Tennessee have been addressing the problem, a Tennessee leader says it’s time for the White House to get more involved.

Tennessee U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty sent a letter to President Biden over the weekend, sharing his frustrations with what he calls a “lack of urgency” by the White House and the administration in addressing the I-40 bridge crisis in Memphis.

“This situation is affecting the lives and livelihoods of real people right now,” Hagerty wrote. “This situation demands an urgent, all-hands approach to address the public safety and economic emergency mounting at my state’s western border.”

Hagerty among a group of Senators and Congressmen who spoke with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Friday, sharing their concerns directly.

Buttigieg says the I-40 bridge shutdown in Memphis shows why President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which includes infrastructure funding, is needed.

“We’re seeing an issue right now with I-40 on the Mississippi River across Tennessee and Arkansas in the area around Memphis, where there is a huge disruption taking place,” said Buttigieg. “There are examples around us every day and it’s showing why we need to do more as a country.”

Hagerty says the I-40 bridge crisis should not require legislation.

“Resolving it should not require legislation, nor should it be delayed as politicians in Washington wrangle over the definition of infrastructure,” Hagerty said.

River traffic reopened on the Mississippi River on Friday.

The bridge itself remains closed indefinitely.

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