On Friday, the Federal Transit Administration met its ambitious deadline for awarding 100% of its Recovery Act money. The final round of 191 grants reaches 42 states and Puerto Rico, and totals over $600 million.
"Investing in these transit upgrades not only puts construction workers on the job at project sites, but supports American manufacturing jobs all the way down the supply chain. At a time when jobs are priority number one, that means twice the employment bang for the Recovery Act buck.”
Those are the words of Vice President Biden on Friday, celebrating yet another American Recovery and Reinvestment Act milestone. Since February 2009, the Obama Administration has obligated over $7.5 billion to 881 transit projects.
And, so far, Recovery Act funds have supported:
- Purchasing nearly 12,000 buses, vans and rail vehicles;
- Constructing or renovating more than 850 transit facilities; and
- Performing more than $620 million in preventive maintenance.
In addition to the direct employment impact of the projects, as Vice President Biden noted, domestic bus, seating and rail car manufacturers have received orders that are helping boost production and sustain jobs. For example:
- Orion Bus in Greensboro, NC, has received 10 contracts for nearly 300 buses--maintaining 176 jobs.
- Gillig Bus in Hayward, CA, has received orders for 790 buses--supporting 395 jobs.
- American Seating Company in Grand Rapids, MI, received $3 million in contracts last year--adding 11 full-time employees with additional job growth expected in 2010.
But it's not just about jobs and stimulus. Those transit improvements help people get where they need to go.
And for those who can't afford to own a car, who live where the roadways are congested, who are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, or who simply want to read a book or a newspaper while traveling to work or to a doctor's office, those transit improvements are essential.
So, yes, we have met another ambitious deadline--Thank you, FTA! And yes, Recovery Act transit projects have already generated enough work to employ thousands of people nationwide. And, yes, activity is expected to ramp up even further in the months ahead as new projects break ground and equipment orders are fulfilled.
But let's remember that, although those investments are paying considerable stimulus dividends now, they will be paying mobility dividends and environmental dividends for decades. In Tulsa, Colorado Springs, and Philadelphia. In Utah, Mississippi, and West Virginia. From Fresno to Miami and from Lane County, Oregon, to Lorain County, Ohio.