Wednesday, March 4, 2009
"This investment in highways will create or save 150,000 jobs by the end of next year, most of them in the private sector," President Obama said. "The jobs that we're creating are good jobs that pay more than average; jobs grinding asphalt and paving roads, filling potholes, making street signs, repairing stop lights, replacing guard rails," he added.
"I've always believed that the toughest moments present the biggest opportunities, and clearly, the President of the United States feels that way, as well," Vice President Biden said. "With this recovery package, we'll be creating jobs, saving jobs, and putting money in people's pockets."
"President Obama is keeping his promise to the American people and he is doing it ahead-of schedule," said Secretary LaHood. "This is a long-overdue investment in our transportation infrastructure and in jobs for Americans."
Secretary LaHood noted that some of the money would be used the same day at a site in Montgomery County, Md., where crews had just started road repairs on a one-mile stretch of Route 650.
State highway departments have already identified more than 100 other transportation projects across the country, totaling more than $750 million, where construction can start within the month. That number is expected to grow substantially as more states submit certifications and begin to receive project approvals.
Each proposed project must be approved by the department's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Each state's governor must certify that their proposed projects meet certain conditions and that the state will use ARRA funds in addition to, and not to replace, state funding of transportation projects. The U.S. Department of Transportation will monitor state compliance and track job creation. The projects will be web-posted for the public to see with information on projects accessible at www.recovery.gov.
At the ceremony the President unveiled new logos for government-wide projects completed under the ARRA and the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) logo for transportation projects completed under the ARRA.
Those attending the signing ceremony at the Department of Transportation were members of the team Secretary LaHood created to oversee disbursement of the money and ensure that all transparency and accountability requirements are being met. Known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) team, it is composed of officials from across the Department's operating administrations and offices and is co-chaired by Lana Hurdle, deputy assistant secretary for budget and programs, and Joel Szabat, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy.
President Obama's visit marks the first by a sitting U.S. President with his Vice President to Department of Transportation headquarters. President Obama is the third sitting President to visit the department, following Presidents George W. Bush in 2008, and Ronald Reagan in 1981.