Highlights Project’s Economic Impact in First Stop of Invest in America Bus Tour
COLUMBUS, Ohio – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined state and local officials today to kick off his Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour at the Pickaway County Connector project, calling it an investment in Ohio’s economic future that could be replicated across the country if Congress would support a long-term transportation bill. The Secretary’s visit is part of a multi-state tour highlighting the urgent need to invest in America’s transportation infrastructure at a time when the nation’s surface transportation programs are set to expire and the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.
“Projects like the Pickaway County Connector not only create jobs, but also lay the foundation for long-term economic growth for entire regions and industries,” said Secretary Foxx. “I’m traveling across the country all week to highlight projects like this that show the difference we can make if we invest in America and commit to the future – because just fixing what we have today isn’t going to help us meet the transportation needs of the future.”
Also known as the Rickenbacker Intermodal Connector, the $29.8 million project will connect US 23 and the Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility near Lockbourne. Construction on the project’s first phase began in late 2012 and is expected to be completed later this year. Workers are currently realigning Duvall Road and preparing to pour concrete for a new bridge. The project received a $16 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant in 2012.
While the project itself is only ten miles long, its economic impact will reach far beyond Ohio’s borders. Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility has the capacity to handle 250,000 shipping containers annually as they travel to and from markets around the globe, which may increase to 400,000 in coming years. This increased capacity is especially important as the U.S. is expected to move an additional 14 billion tons of freight by 2050. By making it easier for trucks to avoid stopping at the area’s major railroad crossings to wait for trains to pass, the new Connector will cut delivery times and costs dramatically and, by reducing emissions from idling engines, will also enhance the region’s air quality.
After visiting the project, Secretary Foxx spoke about the Administration’s plan to address the infrastructure deficit with a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The plan will invest in our national infrastructure network, increase safety and efficiency and provide greater access to ladders of opportunity, all without adding to the deficit. Later this month, Secretary Foxx and President Obama will send a bill to Congress that will make this vision a reality and put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways and transit systems.
“Throughout our history, Americans have always been able to leave their children a brighter future, thanks in part to the opportunities transportation has provided,” said Secretary Foxx. “We are at risk of failing our children. We need to not only invest in America, but commit to the future – not only rebuild and repair our roads and bridges, but reimagine how we do it.”
Secretary Foxx’s Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour is taking him through eight states in five days. The tour includes visits to manufacturers, bridges, freight facilities and highway projects in an effort to raise awareness of America’s infrastructure needs. Secretary Foxx is visiting with business leaders, stakeholders and community members to discuss how transportation projects are making a difference, and to highlight infrastructure gaps that we need to fill in order to promote economic growth and American competitiveness.
To follow the trip’s progress, please click here.
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