Yesterday I visited a nearby Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metrobus facility to help unveil 120 new buses and paratransit vans bought with the support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
As you know, during the past 20 months, I've had the opportunity to visit dozens of transit systems across the country. And sometimes it's easy to forget that, right here in our nation's capital, we have one of the very best.
WMATA, as we call it, has a lot to be proud of. It operates the second largest transit system and sixth largest bus network in America. It connects hundreds of thousands of riders every single day with their workplaces, schools, and essential services. And it smoothly handles special occasions like national rallies, Fourth of July festivities, and presidential inaugurations, which can add millions of riders to the system.
Now, with 48 new diesel-electric hybrid buses and 80 new vans, WMATA will be able to handle even more riders. Adding hybrid buses means adding service--yes--but it also means taking greenhouse gas emissions out of the DC air and reducing our dependence on oil.
As Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said, "In addition to putting people to work, these Recovery Act dollars mean Washington Metrobus riders will have a cleaner, safer ride."
And, while I was at the Carmen Turner Facility in Landover, Maryland, I was also treated to a preview of the new bus body and paint shop, another valuable project supported by the Recovery Act.
Between the new vehicles and the new shop, we are talking about 155 new jobs. And not one of them would be possible without the Recovery Act.
Those are just the direct jobs. A growing transit agency will need to buy new supplies. Workers will start spending from their paychecks. These activities will also stimulate a ripple effect of hiring.
We've seen the results. The Recovery Act has already saved or secured 3.5 million jobs across the US. And after 22 straight months of job losses. our economy has created private sector jobs for eight straight months.
Projects like the new bus and body shop and purchases of new transit vehicles like the ones we celebrated yesterday with WMATA are putting people to work even as they're helping transit agencies around the nation maintain or add safer, more sustainable service for America's transit riders.