Only a little more than month ago, President Obama and Vice President Biden gave the good people here at DOT the honor of a joint visit to our headquarters. Today, they doubled that honor with a return joint visit.
On March 3, we announced the first release of funds under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). The good news then was that we were creating jobs. Today, the President and Vice President came back to DOT to celebrate even better news: funding for the 2000th transportation project under ARRA.
That is not a typing error; the Michigan highway widening project is the TWO-THOUSANDTH recipient of ARRA transportation funds in just 41 days.
The project will improve safety and ease congestion by providing a more efficient I-94 in Kalamazoo County. Like all of the stimulus projects considered by our TIGER team, it makes the lives of ordinary transportation users easier while it creates jobs. That's what "reinvestment" and "recovery" mean, and that's what DOT has delivered.
The DOT has moved more swiftly than people thought possible, to make nearly all of its 48 billion dollars in recovery funds available, empowering every state and territory, wisely and accountably. And because construction bids are coming in lower than expected, our recovery dollars will go further. So even more projects can potentially go out for bid. It is a tribute to the hard work of DOT personnel that President Obama and Vice President Biden came back today for this announcement.
Today, President Obama said it best: “I am proud to utter the two rarest phrases in the English language – projects are being approved ahead of schedule, and they are coming in under budget.”
It's rare, indeed, when a brand new law can have a positive impact on people’s lives within a matter of weeks. But, that’s just what the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act has done. A positive impact on the lives of people who have new jobs. A positive impact on the lives of people using our roads, rails, waterways, and airways.
As Vice-President Biden told the folks at DOT this morning, "The Recovery Act is full- steam ahead on helping us build an economy for the 21st century."
I’m very encouraged by the progress we’ve made so far to put our recovery dollars to work. Thank you, President Obama and Vice-President Biden for acknowledging that progress.