Secretary Ray LaHood
"Remarks as prepared for delivery"
Champions of Change
Transportation Technology Solutions for the 21st Century
Wednesday May 8, 2013
Thank you, Paulette [Aniskoff, Director of the WH Office of Public Engagement.]
Hello everyone. It’s great to be here.
National Transportation Week starts next week—and so it is fitting to be here at the White House celebrating the innovators who are helping us to make our transportation network the best in the world.
Innovation built this country.
These Champions of Change are following in the footsteps of great Americans who built world class roadways, railways, and runways. And they are using cutting edge technologies to do it.
Today’s Champions of Change have made our bridges safer and our commutes more reliable.
They improved the way we move goods from our ports to the heart of our cities.
They have made our highways and roadways safer - developing innovative tools to reduce highway fatalities.
They are bringing real-time travel information to our smart phones and tablets.
They are helping us build a high-speed rail network– and putting people to work in the process.
They are moving the airline industry into the 21st century – helping to implement our NextGen air traffic control system.
And these are only a handful of the accomplishments of these extraordinary leaders.
Our modal administrators will share individual details about each of these Champions in a few minutes.
But all of our champions share a commitment to innovation—and a commitment to transportation.
Like President Obama and all of us at DOT, these Champions understand that we can’t build a world-class economy without a world-class transportation system.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on us to invest in our infrastructure as a way to put people back to work and grow the economy over the long term.
The President has proposed a 2014 budget—requesting a total of $77 billion for the Department of Transportation.
The President’s budget also includes an additional $50 billion for immediate investments to support critical infrastructure projects, including our railways.
Investing in our infrastructure needs is important. And the innovators—the dreamers who ignore the naysayers and go for the big ideas—are helping us to make the most out of our transportation system.
And just as important, they are sharing our message that a safe and reliable infrastructure is critical for the future of this country when they’re back at home, so more people understand the critical work we’re undertaking across the country.
Again, congratulations to our Champions. Thank you for helping us to build the best transportation network in the world.