As readers of this blog know, I have visited nearly every state in America during the past three years to discuss and celebrate transportation projects. From planning meetings to grant signings to groundbreakings to ribbon cuttings, I've thoroughly enjoyed witnessing firsthand the enthusiasm of people who understand that transportation--from roads to rails to runways--can transform communities.
Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to help break ground on Cincinnati's Streetcar. And, when Mayor Mark Mallory and I plunged our shovels into the ground and overturned those first bricks, those gathered might have heard a collective sigh of relief--if it weren't for the raucous cheers and clapping that burst from the hundreds of people gathered around us.
Who can blame them? From day one, the Cincinnati Streetcar has been the little engine that could, and I am so proud of the community and its leaders for standing up on behalf of this important project and shepherding it through to this critical milestone. The story in Cincinnati is about a community coming together, setting its priorities, and not being dissuaded by the naysayers or by those who don't want progress.
And that story is really just beginning. Yes, construction is putting Americans back to work today, but the three and half miles of streetcar line will also strengthen the city's economy tomorrow. The streetcar is an investment in the future of Cincinnati, accelerating development along the new route from the Great American Ball Park and the Paul Brown Stadium to the Over-the-Rhine district and revitalizing Cincinnati’s urban core.
In city after city, we’ve seen the unmistakable proof that transit transforms communities, revives aging downtown centers, creates jobs, and improves the quality of life for hard-working families. I couldn't be happier for the community of Cincinnati; working together to move this transformative project down the track is a tremendous achievement.
But the need for better transportation options and economic development doesn't end in Cincinnati. That's why we're calling on Congress to pass a long-term transportation jobs bill that gets Americans back to work on more projects across the nation like this one. We know there’s no such thing as a Democratic or Republican streetcar line, highway, or runway, and there’s no such thing as a Democratic or Republican job from the economic opportunity these projects create.
Together, we can put people back to work forging an America that’s built to last on the wheels of a national transportation system that’s the envy of the world.