Obama Administration ready to Rebuild America
Most of the time, when people think about transportation, they think of our nation’s roads and bridges, or maybe our airports, railroad tracks or transit lines. But there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that makes all of those forms of transportation, along with many others, more safe and efficient. Yesterday, I had a chance to see some of that work firsthand, when I joined President Obama in visiting DOT’s Turner Fairbank Research Center. During our visit, we were able to see some of the innovative technologies DOT engineers are working on that will make important improvements in how Americans drive in the future.
For example, the President got to do a little driving in a simulator that features vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. This technology will eventually help stop crashes before they happen and make it easier for us to avoid traffic jams.
President Barack Obama prepares to drive a vehicle simulator during a tour of the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
He and I agree that's the kind of transportation progress we like to see.
But we were visiting Turner-Fairbanks to bring attention to a different kind of progress – one that has been sorely lacking in Washington lately. During our visit, both the President and I talked about the need for a long-term transportation bill, one that would support the kind of far-reaching research we saw yesterday, in addition to providing the funding and the certainty states need to keep our physical transportation in good shape. It’s clear that we need it.
Earlier this week, the White House put a report online, so everyone can see how many of their state’s roads are in less than “good condition.” The answer? Too many: 65 percent nationwide. And if you took all the “structurally deficient” bridges in this country and lined them up end-to-end, they’d stretch from Washington to Chicago.
But, before we can get to fixing those bridges and roads--and before we can get to hiring the men and women who will do that work-- we need a long-term solution that allows us to get past the lurching from crisis to crisis.
On the White House's Rebuild America website, you can also see how many jobs are supported by transportation investment in each state. The future is clear, whether you’re looking at transportation funding that supports jobs, or the roads and bridges that suffer without it.
That's why this Administration has been so active on this front.
It's why we sent Congress a long-term funding bill, GROW AMERICA, two months ago. This bill provides four years of certainty for states and private investors to attack the backlog of infrastructure renewal we need so badly. GROW AMERICA also provides funding for the kind of game-changing research the President and I saw today.
It's why we're keeping the public informed about our nation's infrastructure deficit and the costs of recurring Highway Trust Fund shortfalls.
And it's why we continue to take whatever steps we can to help state, local, territorial, and tribal DOTs navigate the challenges ahead.