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Jared Kushner finally granted his security clearance. Also on our nationwide rundown: a new lawsuit seeks the release of a gay man from ICE Detention in Pennsylvania; and protecting an Arizona water source for millions near Phoenix.

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Mayors Hope Trump Addresses State of TN Roads Tonight

Heavy traffic and dilapidated roads and bridges are among the problems Tennessee mayors hope will be addressed with increased infrastructure funding from the federal government. (Lindsay Turner/flickr)
Heavy traffic and dilapidated roads and bridges are among the problems Tennessee mayors hope will be addressed with increased infrastructure funding from the federal government. (Lindsay Turner/flickr)
January 30, 2018

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The country's crumbling infrastructure is among the issues President Donald Trump is expected to address tonight in the State of the Union speech.

Mayors across Tennessee and the rest of the country are hoping the funding proposed is enough to dig them out of a backlog of needed projects, from road repairs to new bridges to public transit.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is among the city leaders who met with the president last week at the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors annual conference.

"The president said that he was committed to proposing to Congress a $1 billion infrastructure package, and I've heard Democrats and Republicans in Congress say they want to invest in infrastructure and I think every mayor across the country will rejoice," he says.

The federal fund that currently pays for most federal highways and transit is projected to be out of money in roughly three years unless more funding is authorized. Tennessee lawmakers recently passed the IMPROVE Act, which will create additional funding for road projects in the state - thanks in part to an increase to the state's gas tax.

Strickland says Memphis has increased its road-paving budget by 100 percent in the last four years and the IMPROVE Act is helping. But he's hoping leaders in Washington on both sides of the aisle will step up.

"We're addressing them as much as we can in the city of Memphis," he adds. "The IMPROVE Act passed in Tennessee, so we'll get even more money, but I was encouraged to hear the bipartisan talk and support of an infrastructure package from the federal government, too."

Nationwide, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that the country will gain nearly 26 million new residents by 2020, an increase of about eight-percent. Tennessee has the 23rd fastest rate of growth in the country, according to the Census.

Stephanie Carson/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - TN