Earlier today, I helped break ground on the new Milton-Madison Bridge, which crosses the Ohio River and connects Indiana and Kentucky.
It joins two towns. It joins two states. It reminds us that when Democrats and Republicans--like Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels--build bridges between one another, the American people benefit. And it ties together two ideas: economic recovery and infrastructure renewal.
Across America, the Recovery Act has financed 15,000 transportation projects like the Milton-Madison Bridge. It has restored tens of thousands of miles of long-neglected roadways, runways, railways, transitways, and waterways.
And through this investment--the largest public works program since the New Deal--the Recovery Act has helped spur 10 consecutive months of private sector job growth after 22 straight months of job losses. It has helped produce more than a million private sector jobs during 2010 and close to 3.5 million jobs overall. And it has helped bring the American economy back from the brink with a powerful ripple effect that is helping small businesses.
Has it done enough? We know it hasn't. We know that nearly one in five construction workers are still unemployed at the same time as many of the roads and bridges we use everyday are still in disrepair.
And that is precisely why President Obama's vision for America's transportation future begins with a $50 billion investment in those roads and bridges.
The President is talking about roads, like US 421 running through Milton and Madison, which link communities and offer fertile ground for small businesses. He's talking about bridges, like the forthcoming Milton-Madison Bridge whose ground we broke today, that offer safe lanes and stable decks.
More than 80 years ago, the original Milton-Madison Bridge opened just as the Great Depression began. It was a symbol of hope for those two communities--a symbol of what good can come through unity and bold, courageous investment.
Today--thanks to the hard work of Congressman Baron Hill and Governors Beshear and Daniels, who came togehter to make this project happen--we can once again invest in the infrastructure that gives people along the Ohio River the chance to lead their lives and pursue their dreams. We can once again invest in job creation, economic opportunity, and competitiveness.
That may be a lot of pressure to put on a single bridge. But American workers like the ones replacing the old Milton-Madison Bridge are certainly up to the challenge.