Last month, in Columbus, Ohio, President Obama ushered in the Summer of Recovery, saying, "If we're going to rebuild America's economy, we've got to rebuild America."
Well, last Friday, near Jacksonville, Florida, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez helped break ground on a project that demonstrates exactly what President Obama was talking about.
The end of that long wait means a welcome boost for Florida's economy because construction of State Road 9B will create or maintain more than 200 jobs.
And we know that the economic impact doesn't end with those jobs.
Every American back on the job today because of a Recovery Act project is buying groceries for their family, paying their rent or mortgage, and injecting much of that payroll right back into the economy.
And as we rebuild Northeast Florida's economy, we're also accomplishing other priorities. We're improving Jacksonville's infrastructure and supporting one of our nation's busiest ports, easing the commute into and out of the city, and providing a more efficient route to the area's beaches.As FHWA Administrator Mendez said on Friday, "This is what the Recovery Act is doing all across America. It’s helping parents give their kids a safer ride to school. It’s helping businesses deliver their goods more efficiently. And it’s helping people get home faster after a long day at work."
This 4-lane divided highway will provide better access to I-95, Jacksonville International Airport, and the Port of Jacksonville. It will relieve traffic on the heavily congested US 1 and Old St. Augustine Rd. corridors. And it will connect Duval County--home of the city of Jacksonville--with St. John's County--one of Florida's fastest growing counties.
Jeff Sheffield, executive director of the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization, called 9B one of the most important road projects in Northeast Florida: "We're going to continue to see more vehicles on Interstate 95, Interstate 295 and U.S. 1. We're going to need Florida 9B to relieve congestion."Sheffield also noted the importance of the 9B segment for freight moving into and out of the port and airport.
This Administration is supporting jobs for Florida's economy and renewed infrastructure to help people and goods move through the greater Jacksonville area more smoothly.
And none of this would have happened without the stimulus. As Administrator Mendez told the crowd, "Recovery Act dollars are helping projects like this get back on track."
In fact, the Recovery Act has gone much further in Florida than transportation planners thought possible. Because of competitive bids for other Florida projects, the state was able to fund additional projects, like State Road 9B.
The Recovery Act has created and maintained over 2.5 million jobs in the US already, made possible 610 projects to renew Florida's infrastructure, and stretched the value of a dollar.
The Recovery Act is working for Florida. And it's working for America.