Weekly Remarks by Governor Hutchinson | The Critical Importance of Investing in Infrastructure: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Weekly Remarks by Governor Hutchinson | The critical importance of investing in infrastructure
Governor Hutchinson’s weekly radio address can be viewed in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
LITTLE STONE – Two weeks ago, we were all alarmed to learn of a major crack in a beam that supports the I-40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge, which connects Arkansas and Tennessee.
The inspectors found no other problems, and now that the repair has started, we can breathe easier. I am grateful to the inspectors for finding this crack and preventing a disaster.
I’m also grateful that the Arkansans adopted number 1 last year to keep the half-cent sales tax for road construction and maintenance. This investment provides ongoing public funds for the inspection and repair of our highways, roads and bridges.
We have heard a lot recently about infrastructure. Congress is negotiating an infrastructure package with President Biden. Part of the discussion centers on exactly what qualifies as infrastructure.
In my opinion, the infrastructure includes highways, roads, airports, seaports, power grids, water supply, communication systems and now the broadband system. Infrastructure requires partnerships between the private sector and government, and cooperation between the state and federal governments.
Today, our focus is on our transportation infrastructure and the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River between West Memphis and Memphis. The bridge opened in 1973 and the Arkansas Department of Transportation modernized it for earthquakes. About 41,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day. Since we discovered the cracked beam, we have closed the bridge and redirected traffic to the I-55 bridge, which opened in 1949. Bridge inspectors from Arkansas and Tennessee inspected the bridge after inspecting the bridge. closed the DeSoto bridge and found the I-55 bridge to be careful.
The company repairing the bridge bolted steel plates to each side of the cracked beam. The company has hooked up the platforms that will support the repair teams.
We don’t know how long the bridge will remain closed, but the Tennessee Department of Transportation commissioner said on Thursday that repairs may not be completed until August. The shutdown has caused delays costing the trucking industry $ 2.4 million per day. This is just one of the costs when we have to shut down some of the infrastructure that connects our country.
This near-disaster illustrates how interdependent we are. It also illustrates the urgency for states to be proactive in maintaining infrastructure. This is why number 1 was so important. Our investment in highways provides Arkansas with the resources to inspect roads and bridges, keep them in good repair, and respond to emergencies quickly.
Everyone knows that we need good roads for our daily life. We also know that maintaining safe roads is expensive. I am grateful that the voters of Arkansas have been willing to approve the money that will allow us to keep our roads and bridges safe.
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