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“We Can’t Wait” Press Call

Secretary Ray LaHood

“We Can’t Wait” Press Call

Repurposing of Transportation Funds

Washington, D.C.

Friday August 17

  • Hello everyone. Thank you for being on the call today.
  • In these tough economic times, it’s important that we get the most out of our federal investments.
  • From 2003 to 2006, Congress set aside $473 million in earmarked transportation funds that were never spent.
  • These idle earmarks have sat on the shelf as our infrastructure continued to age and construction workers stood on the sidelines
  • That ends today.  These funds need to be put to use now so we can get people back to work.
  • We can’t wait any longer.
  • I’m taking that unspent money and giving it right back to the states so that they can put it to work on the infrastructure projects they need most.
  • Projects that will put people back to work.
  • Forty-nine states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, will receive funds.


  • And each state receiving funds will have the flexibility to put this money toward infrastructure projects that will make a real difference in their communities.
  • This stalled money will be put to use this year—putting people back to work on our roads, bridges, railways, and bus systems. The funds must be designated for projects by October 1 and obligated by December 31st.
  • Our infrastructure is crumbling. Across the nation, we have transportation needs that are unmet.
  • We can’t wait any longer.  It’s about time we put these idle funds to good use.
  • Now, we know we have more work ahead of us.
  • President Obama signed the transportation bill this summer. The bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21, will create good-paying jobs and put Americans back to work.
  • And it will provide states and communities two years of steady funding and the certainty they need to invest in critical road, bridge and transit projects.
  • At DOT, we are already working with stakeholders to put the bill into action quickly and effectively.
  • Investing in transportation is a win-win for everyone.
  • When we put federal dollars toward our infrastructure, we create jobs today and strengthen our economic competitiveness for the long-term.
  • Nearly 90 percent of the construction, manufacturing and trade jobs created through investments in transportation are middle class jobs. 
  • At a time when one in five construction workers is out of work—those are the jobs we need—and we need them right now.
  • Together, let’s put people back to work building a transportation system that’s the envy of the world.
  • Again, thank you for being on the call today. I’m happy to answer your questions at this time.
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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