U.S. Department of Transportation
For American Public Transportation Association Conference
October 3, 2011
New Orleans, LA
Hello everyone. Welcome to New Orleans.
On behalf of President Obama, thank you for your outstanding leadership in delivering safe, reliable, affordable transportation options in all 50 states and beyond.
The President and I appreciate how much APTA has done, and continues to do, in the fight for bus, rail, streetcar, and ferry choices that the American people rely on every day. And I want you to know that President Obamaís Administration is fighting right alongside you. Thatís why President Obamaís American Jobs Act includes a National Infrastructure Bank with $10 billion in up-front funding. It will issue loans emphasizing two criteria: how badly a transit or other project is needed and how much good it will do for the economy.
Thatís why President Obamaís American Jobs Act also includes an immediate investment in jobs laying and maintaining 4,000 miles of track for trains and for transit. Now what does that mean in terms of dollars and cents? It means $9 billion for jobs repairing bus and rail systems. And it means $5 billion for jobs on projects selected through a scaled-up TIGER program.
The fact is, we canít make the American Jobs Act the law of the land without you. In community after community, transformations are under way because of your tireless efforts, whether youíre making your neighborhoods more livable or your transit systems more accessible. We need you to bring that same commitment to this critical push for the American Jobs Act. We need you not just to join the cause, but to lead it.
Hereís the bottom line: this is our moment. This is our chance to put people to work building light rail and commuter rail, street cars, and trolleys, buses and other forms of transit. And APTA knows better than anyone that transit is not an end in itself. It is a means. Itís the way workers reach jobs or customers reach businesses. Itís the way we lead our lives and pursue our dreams. Itís the lifeline of our economy.
So my message to you is simple: if we come together; if we fight to break through the do-nothing status quo, we can give the American people the transportation services they demand and deserve. Thereís work to be done. There are workers ready, willing, and able to do it. Now is the time to act.
Thank you very much. Have a great conference.