President Obama called on us to rebuild America by putting people back to work on transportation projects that are built to last. And the budget proposal the President presented yesterday will do exactly that by improving our transit systems, highways, railways and airports well into the future.
Tens of millions of middle class Americans rely on transit every day to get to work, school, and other critical destinations. Transit helps consumers keep more of their hard-earned dollars; it takes emissions from our air; and it takes traffic from our roads. In neighborhoods near transit service, it also stimulates economic development.
As our population grows, we must ensure that America's transit systems keep pace. At this make-or-break moment for the middle class, we can afford to do no less.
And we can build these systems with American manufacturing, American energy, and American skills.
So, I'm excited that the President's budget includes $2.2 billion in funding to begin or advance 29 significant rail and bus rapid transit projects in 15 different states. His proposal for the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts grant program includes:
- $243.7 million for 7 new projects;
- $769.5 million for 10 projects that were recommended for funding but have not yet received it; and
- $1.2 billion in continued funding for 12 projects already under construction.
"Even in these austere times, the President has seen fit to provide the resources we need to keep dozens of major capital transit projects moving through the pipeline. That’s good news for millions of Americans still looking for work—and it’s good news for everyone who wants to spend less money on gas, and less time stuck in traffic."
Look, investing in transit is more than just a question of what we spend; it's a question of what we value. It's a question of fairness for our friends and neighbors who can't drive or can't afford to own a car.
For more than 10 billion riders each year, transit is a lifeline. Access to transit means access to opportunity--the opportunity to work, to learn new skills, to get medical treatment.
And, with a proposed 105 percent increase in transit funding during the next six years, the President's budget keeps those opportunities open to the Americans who need them.