On the Hill again today, telling the House Committee on the Budget how the Obama Administration's stimulus is strengthening our economy. I was joined by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack--my partner on a Rural Tour visit to La Crosse, Wisconsin--and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
By strengthening our economy, I mean creating jobs, sustaining jobs, and positioning our transportation infrastructure for the 21st century. And that is exactly what we are doing.
Here's the scorecard:
- $22 billion--nearly half of DOT's stimulus money--made available to the States;
- Over 6,600 projects approved
- Over 3,200 projects underway right now
And the future promises even more boosts to economic activity:
- $8 billion in high-speed rail development
- $1.5 billion in TIGER discretionary grants
What's more, the record on compliance and responsibility has been amazing:
- 100% of States and Territories met the 120-day deadline to obligate half of their highway funds
- Transit agencies are on track to meet a similar deadline on September 1st
- 3 phases of DOT Risk Management Plan for Recovery Act programs complete
- DOT's Accountability Executive Board keeps open lines of communication with the DOT Inspector General
Now, those are remarkable achievements for a fast-moving program of this scope and complexity, and I want to give most of the credit to DOT's TIGER team for managing our Recovery Act work.
I know the stumulus can't make up for every job our economy has shed. But we have supported over 5,000 jobs already, with up to 500,000 more on the way once the full effect of this landmark program is felt in the transportation industry.
And every job we do create or preserve should be counted as a victory.
The American people want us to rebuild our roads and bridges--the orange barrels and cones are out there.
They want us to build clean public transportation--the green transit vehicles are being built and put into service.
They want us to modernize transportation for today's economy and tomorrow's--and the marine highway network and high-speed rail are on their way.
Putting Americans to work boosting our country's global competitiveness--I'm confident we'll look back on the Recovery Act as one of those moments when Americans answered a powerful challenge with a powerful response.