Secretary Ray LaHood
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Chicago Riverwalk Project
March 28, 2013
Thank you, Mayor Emanuel. Hello everyone. It’s great to be here.
This river is as central to Chicago’s history as the city’s skyscrapers and railroads. American ingenuity helped to shape this river over a century ago, and so it is only fitting that we use American know-how once again to transform the riverfront into a hub of economic activity.
Today, I’m pleased to announce that the Department of Transportation has invited the City of Chicago to apply for a TIFIA loan to complete the Chicago Riverwalk Project.
This is a big step for the Chicago Riverwalk Project, and all of us at DOT stand ready to work with Chicago to complete the loan process and get this project done.
This is an important moment for us at DOT too. Chicago is the first to be invited to apply for a TIFIA loan since President Obama expanded the program last summer.
TIFIA—that’s the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act—provides direct loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit for major infrastructure projects throughout the nation.
Simply put, it stretches our transportation dollars further.
Since its launch, the TIFIA program has made possible 31 projects and turned $10.5 billion in DOT support into over $42 billion in infrastructure investment across America.
When President Obama signed into law MAP-21, he transformed TIFIA into the largest transportation infrastructure loan program in history, making up to $17 billion in credit assistance available for critical infrastructure projects.
The Chicago Riverwalk Project is a model for how infrastructure investments can revitalize communities.
This project will better connect millions of commuters and tourists with transportation options—including buses, trains, bikes and even boats. There will be bike facilities, improved water taxi service, and new boat slips so people can dock and dine.
This project will improve pedestrian safety by reducing foot traffic at intersections and providing a continuous pathway for joggers and walkers alike.
All of this is an important part of the Revive Wacker Driver project, which DOT has been proud to support.
Chicago is one of America’s strongest cities, and you deserve a world class transportation network. Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, you are making the critical investments needed to propel Chicago into the 21st century.
President Obama has a bold vision for transportation in America.
And you, Chicago, are leading the way.
All of the infrastructure changes taking place in this city remind us that we have opportunity to be big and bold—especially when it comes to investing in a strong America.