Norton Celebrates Ribbon Cutting for New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) celebrated the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge yesterday, for which she got the majority of funding using her role as chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. She said the bridge, replacing the South Capitol Street Bridge, is “perhaps the most important bridge in the nation’s capital,” connecting commuters, visitors and Wards 7 and 8 to the city’s other six wards.
Her remarks, as prepared for delivery, from yesterday’s ribbon cutting for the bridge follow.
Remarks of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
at the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Ribbon Cutting
September 7, 2021
With the opening of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge this week, we are celebrating the largest public infrastructure project in the history of the District of Columbia and a shining example of federal infrastructure investment. For over a decade in Congress, as a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and as Chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, I sought and squirreled away funds in each appropriations bill until the 60% federal funding needed for this bridge was secured. Those dollars are now hard at work supporting an important connective tissue that holds our city together and is critical to the future of our communities situated along the Anacostia River.
When the Founders built our city on two sides of a river, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (or South Capitol Street Bridge) became perhaps the most important bridge in the nation’s capital. It connects residents, commuters, and visitors in Wards 7 and 8 to the city’s other six wards. The new bridge practically and aesthetically ties the city together. Much of the development my bills have brought to D.C. in the last several years, such as the Wharf and the Yards, will continue to thrive because the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will bring people out to a new, world-class waterfront.
In addition to fixing existing infrastructure, we must ensure that our country’s transportation policies and programs can meet the future needs of our people. Earlier this year, I chaired the subcommittee whose work led to the passage of the INVEST in America Act in the House. This bill provides support for infrastructure projects for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation, school children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight, and supports new policy goals for innovation in mobility, safety, community connectivity, resilience, and environmental protection. The design of this new bridge considered all of these factors and more.
While there remains debate on Capitol Hill about the correct size and scope of federal infrastructure spending legislation, we can all agree on the value of physical infrastructure investments like the Douglass Bridge we celebrate today. I am exceptionally proud of this legislative legacy, which bears the name of the great American statesman, the country’s foremost abolitionist, longtime District of Columbia resident, and avid proponent of equal rights for D.C. residents, Frederick Douglass. I look forward to celebrating more ambitious, community-focused, forward-thinking projects like the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge as we pave the way for historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure.