"Remarks as Prepared for Delivery”
Friday January 18, 2013
I’d like to begin by thanking Governor Snyder, Mayor Bing, the entire Michigan Congressional delegation, the state legislature, and all the local leaders—from the business community and beyond—for coming together to invest in the mobility and infrastructure that Greater Detroit needs.
I applaud you all for supporting a regional vision for public transportation.
Detroit is setting an example for how we can come together to identify our transportation needs and meet the needs of the region.
After decades of hard work, Michigan now has a regional transit authority, and you are moving forward with good transportation projects.
This is what progress looks like.
Right now is the time to invest in reliable, affordable public transportation.
We need to give people more transportation options, like connected bus and rail systems.
Transit systems like these are a lifeline—helping hardworking people get to jobs, day care, schools, doctors, and more.
They also give citizens an opportunity to go shopping or out for a meal while leaving their car right where it is.
Today I’m proud to announce that the M-1 Rail project can move forward immediately using the $25 million TIGER grant previously provided from the Department of Transportation.
Once it’s built, this 3.3 mile streetcar along Detroit’s historic Woodward Avenue will be a model for how other cities can meet their transportation needs.
It will put residents in touch with thousands of local jobs, help them save money on gas and help restore downtown as a business hub and entertainment center.
The M-1 rail project is already a model for public private partnerships. Through the support of dozens of local investors, you have pooled over $100 million to invest in this transformational project.
This is the type of broad-based partnerships we need to build the 21st century infrastructure people demand.
Today I’m also proud to announce that we are giving an additional $6.5 million to the new Regional Transit Authority so that they can move forward with planning for the state-of-the-art bus rapid transit lines throughout the Detroit region.
Whether you live in Detroit or in the suburbs of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb [Mah-comb] and Washtenaw [Wash-Ta-Now] counties, it’s important to understand that transportation needs don’t stop at the city or county line.
And these new bus rapid transit lines are going to provide a fast, reliable and convenient connection between suburbs and downtown.
It’s going to connect people to jobs and connect kids to schools – without the service and reliability problems that have plagued this region in recent years.
I’m thrilled that Southeast Michigan at last has a regional transportation authority to act as a catalyst for new, connected transportation systems throughout the region.
This is a critically needed step that has been discussed and promoted for decades without success.
But this year, with the leadership of elected leaders of all political stripes, we have finally united Greater Detroit to stand up for a transit network that can truly meet the people’s needs.
This is a very important step forward—for Detroit today and for future generations.
Detroit’s streetcar is exactly the kind of project we need for to ensure a bright future for the city.
President Obama is committed to investing in transportation projects like this—projects that will create the jobs Detroit needs right now, while also spurring new economic development to help this region grow stronger in the years to come.
We look forward to continuing to work with our state and local partners to make Detroit a model for livability and 21st century progress.
Again, I applaud Michigan’s leaders for their commitment to this project and other efforts to help Detroit.
Thank you for all your hard work to make this happen.