Today I addressed the Chairman's Luncheon at the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting. I had two items uppermost on my mind: jobs and infrastructure.
As I've said before, modernizing our nation’s transportation infrastructure has been a top domestic priority of President Obama’s from the day he took office nearly a year ago. And by working toward that, we’ve already saved or created tens of thousands of jobs for American workers hard-hit by the recession.
And Congress is now considering another round of economic recovery funding. The House passed a new jobs bill at the end of the 2009 session. We’re hoping the Senate will soon take up its own version.
Yes, the economy is starting to recover, but the jobless rate is still too high. Many Americans are just scraping by, and that’s unacceptable.
President Obama is committed to improving the fortunes of America’s families, and the best way to do that is with jobs.
Look, we know that robust investments in highways, transit, aviation, and rail result in good paying jobs and in projects that benefit us all. And at DOT we received many, many more applications for our Recovery Act programs than we could possibly fund. So we think the final bill should feature more infrastructure investments.
It's the right direction at the right time, and it’s what American taxpayers are asking for.
The many jobs created, the many miles of road, rail, and runway repaired or widened--all of this is just the first leg of our marathon effort to make transportation an economic engine of recovery and a gateway to a better quality of life for all Americans.
I hope Congress sees the 2010 jobs bill as an opportunity to unlock many more good, ready-to-go transportation projects.