This week, the United States Senate will have the opportunity to vote on the transportation provisions of the American Jobs Act. At the same time, across the country, local leaders are having conversations about how transportation contributes to economic competitiveness.
Some are talking about how they'll find the money to repair local roads and bridges to get businesses better access to customers and suppliers. Others are talking about developing modern freight and passenger rail service as a key part of improving the economy.
Yesterday, Deputy Secretary John Porcari met with some of those leaders at the Michigan Rail Summit, where he spoke about the importance of investing in critical infrastructure, such as high-speed rail.
From day one, we have stood up for the rail industry with smart investments that create jobs today and lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth over the long run. This Administration understands that we can’t build a 21st century economy on a 20th century transportation network.
It’s simple: investing in jobs to repair America’s transportation network and build new systems like high-speed rail is not a Democratic or Republican idea; this is a tried-and-true solution to connect the people who need work with the work that needs to be done.
In fact, the State of Michigan is already seeing results.
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration awarded nearly $200 million in high-speed rail grants for Michigan. Among other things, these funds will bring trains up to speeds of 110 miles-per-hour on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor – reducing the trip by 30 minutes.
By bringing the corridor into public ownership, Michigan DOT will also have far greater control and flexibility to make future service improvements and improve the overall passenger experience.
As America's high-speed rail system emerges, economic growth and opportunity will follow. And by providing additional targeted investments, the American Jobs Act offers another important step in the right direction.
We will create jobs today; we will improve our economic competitiveness; and we won't add a nickel to the deficit because it's paid for through President Obama's long-term plan to slash our debt.
We’ve got private companies with the equipment and manpower to do the heavy lifting right now, and we’ve got more than one million unemployed construction workers, ready to get working on jobsites.
Now is the time for Congress to pass the transportation part of the American Jobs Act. Now is the time to put American men and women back to work.