When a community uses a $15 million DOT TIGER grant to launch a $50 million project to improve transit connections for millions of passengers each year, the public wins. And when that project creates jobs at a time they are needed most, that adds even more reasons to celebrate a smart federal investment capturing a city’s local vision.
So, yesterday in Philadelphia's Dilworth Plaza, that's exactly what we did, breaking ground on a major transit center and sustainable open space where Philadelphia’s hardworking residents and visitors can take a break. It's a terrific example of the kind of project our TIGER program was meant to support.
The renovation of Dilworth Plaza will substantially improve commuting into Philadelphia's Center City by upgrading connections and accessibility in and around the City Hall transit hub. For passengers riding SEPTA's regional commuter rail and subway, New Jersey's PATCO rail, Amtrak, and area trolleys and buses, the frustration of transfering between networks has been infamous. For passengers with disabilities, accessibility challenges have added to that frustration. The Dilworth Plaza and City Hall station enhancements will make it significantly easier for all riders to get where they're going using the many public transit options Philadelphia offers.
President Obama challenged us in his State of the Union address to build an economy that works for everyone. And with the work now underway, Dilworth Plaza will meet that challenge.
But all across America, there is work to be done on projects like this in communities that just can't wait. So today, DOT announced the availability of $500 million in funding that Congress authorized for TIGER 2012.
TIGER 2012 provides for up to $100 million to be used for high speed and intercity passenger rail. It also provides $120 million for rural transportation projects. All projects will be evaluated on primary criteria that include safety, economic competitiveness, livability, environmental sustainability, state of repair and short-term job creation.
It's simple: the President wants to put our friends and neighbors back to work building a stronger foundation for an economy that lasts. When completed, the improved Dilworth Plaza and City Hall station will add to that foundation. The TIGER 2012 projects will become part of that foundation, too.
We've got work to do improving our nation’s transit centers, highways, railways, airports and ports. And we've got people ready to do that work. Now is the time; let's get busy.