Almost a year ago, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and I were in St. Louis learning about plans to reconnect the famous Gateway Arch and its beautiful park with the economic and cultural center of downtown St. Louis. Today, I was happy to return to St. Louis--with Secretary Salazar, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, US Representative Lacy Clay, Mayor Francis Slay, and MoDOT Director Kevin Keith--to officially announce a $20 million TIGER grant to the Missouri Department of Transportation that will help make that reconnection happen.
As readers of this blog know, DOT recently reviewed 828 good proposals seeking more than $14 billion in TIGER funding. From that strong pool of applicants, we selected--months ahead of schedule--46 projects in 33 different states for grants totaling $511 million. Every project awarded a grant in this third round of TIGER solves a transportation problem for its community. And every project puts friends and neighbors back to work.
The City-Arch-River project in St. Louis is a perfect example of that. The current roadway configuration presents a safety hazard to pedestrians and vehicles trying to access the Arch Grounds. The roadways also produce frustrating traffic conditions between the Arch Grounds and the Downtown Core.
With the help of this TIGER grant, MoDOT will put men and women to work improving the roadway along the I-70 corridor in St. Louis.
The project also complements other projects in the area, including a new Mississippi River bridge.
By selecting these projects early, DOT sent a decisive message to America's communities: We didn't wait.
We didn't wait to select the best TIGER proposals. And we aren't waiting to put our friends and neighbors back to work.
We refused to wait because this is a tough economic time, and the American people want to know who is going to step up and help them.
So, with this third round of TIGER, we are connecting the people who need their jobs back with the jobs that our country needs done. In St. Louis and across the country, we are answering the call.
Now, there is much more to be done, but that requires leadership and action from Congress. America needs a transportation jobs bill--long-term legislation that will put people to work rebuilding our roadways, railways, and runways--our transit systems, pipelines, seaports, and airports.
It's time to do what DOT did today at the Arch. It's time to stop talking and start doing. It's time to demonstrate to the good people of the Show-Me State that there's someone in their federal government ready to step up on their behalf.