This morning, I had the pleasure of attending the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2011 Washington Legislative Briefing with FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez and other DOT officials.
I was there today to talk about the Obama Administration’s vision for the future of transportation in America. As the president has said, we've got to out-build, out-innovate, and out-educate the rest of our global economic competitors if we want to win the future.
In order to do that, we must have a world-class transportation system. We must repair our existing roads, bridges, and transit systems. And we must build new projects--including high-speed intercity passenger rail lines--that will safely and efficiently move people and goods.
These are big goals. And in order to accomplish them, we can't do it ourselves--we need our partners at the state level.
You see, AASHTO’s membership of state transportation officials have been crucial allies in our efforts to rebuild our national infrastructure. State DOTs helped us successfully administer thousands of Recovery Act projects--creating jobs and investing in communities across the country when our economy needed it the most.
And we're counting on them again as we gear up to get a good transportation bill to President Obama's desk. Our friends at AASHTO are already pitching in, launching a new Facebook feature that encourages people to submit any questions they may have about the new transportation bill.
There’s no question that America’s transportation system is at a crossroads. We need to choose whether we keep our economic recovery moving forward or whether we allow it to fall backward. And I believe we have a responsibility--to our children and our children’s children--to make the kinds of investments in transportation that those before us have made.
I know we've got a lot of work and some tough decisions ahead of us. But I am confident that with the help of AASHTO and our terrific state partners, we will be able to achieve our big, bold vision for transportation in America.