Across America, there is work to be done on good transportation projects in communities that just can't wait. That's one of the reasons the first three rounds of DOT's competitive TIGER grant program have been so successful, and why the current round, TIGER 2012, has America's transportation community so excited.
The President wants to put our friends and neighbors back to work building a stronger foundation for an economy that lasts. And yesterday, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez toured a project that will soon become part of that foundation: replacing the deteriorated Memorial Bridge between Kittery, ME, and Portsmouth, NH.
That project is now underway thanks to a 2010 TIGER award, and the folks who live near the US Route 1 on both sides of the Piscataqua River will be happy to use a safe, modern crossing when the new bridge opens next year.
So, we’re using an innovative contracting method known as Design-Build to do exactly that. Design-Build is one of the ideas the FHWA is advancing in the Every Day Counts initiative, which offers states a number of suggestions for speeding project completion for taxpayers.
President Obama is a big believer in getting projects under construction sooner so we can put people to back to work. And in his State of the Union speech, he said he’s going to sign an Executive Order to cut red tape and fast-track projects through the review and permitting process.
The President also described his blueprint for an America that is built to last--a nation where bridges are safe to cross for cars, trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians.
That kind of nation needs roads and rails where people can travel reliably to their jobs and businesses can ship their goods efficiently. It needs a strong foundation. When a bridge built in 1923 is rusting beneath its crumbling decks, and when our roads are choked with congestion, our economy cannot thrive.
Soon, thanks to TIGER, a modern Memorial Bridge will become part of a modern American foundation. Administrator Mendez and I think that's a good start.