In the audience at this meeting were leaders of state and local Chambers around the country. Now, these leaders are doing important work: connecting the businesses that turn to them for information, education, networking, and a strong sense of community. And I appreciate that.But I also want them to appreciate what this Administration has been doing and the changes we want to bring to transportation policy. And I hope they carry that message back to their state and local Chamber members.
I tried to give these folks a sample of what we have already achieved transportation-wise:
- Cash for Clunkers injected $2.8 billion into auto sales around the country and created the equivalent of 21,000 jobs;
- Recovery Act spending made more than $30 billion available for more than 9,800 transportation projects in every state and territory--from roads and bridges to transit systems, airports, and seaports.
Both of these programs have helped stabilize targeted sectors of small businesses--auto dealers, construction companies--core members of the Chambers of Commerce across the country.
But more important than that may be the philosophy that is guiding our approach to transportation planning:
We see transportation not just as a way of moving people and goods around, but as a gateway to economic development and a better quality of life for all of us in the United States.
To put that into action, DOT will listen more carefully to state, regional, and community priorities, the kinds of priorities that small businesses help shape.
With thoughtful planning, and good public-private cooperation, our transportation policies will enhance economic competitiveness by giving businesses greater access to markets and providing Americans access to jobs, education, and services.