Sunshine state sheds light on national need for transportation investment
Yesterday, I visited two long-awaited projects in Florida, stopping first in Miami. That's where, last May, a giant drill named Harriet bored its way under the bay and broke through on Watson Island and the Port of Miami.
The Port’s new tunnels certainly are good for the city. The port moves thousands of containers every day, and one-in-five North American cruise passengers pass through there. Yet, before yesterday, the 16,000 vehicles traveling to the port each day only had one access point, so traffic backed up all the way to downtown.
The tunnels that opened yesterday will help help solve that problem, and their construction employed more than 500 people.
Secretary Foxx at the podium with Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera; photo courtesy Walter Michot, Miami Herald.
But in addition to being “good for the city” of Miami, this project is also good for the entire country because it reminds America how important investing in transportation is, and what will happen if we stop.
The same is true for the second project I visited, a series of steps to widen and decongest the Tampa Interstate System. Tampa has needed – and been planning the project – for 25 years, since 1989. And now, with help from our Federal Highway Administration, we’re finally making it a reality.
DOT has invested about $2.5 billion in the Miami and Tampa projects. But we won’t be able to make investments of that scale – or any scale – if the Highway Trust Fund runs dry this summer, which it’s on track to do.
Frankly, without a significant increase in transportation funding, travel in this country will continue to get slower, less safe, and more frustrating. It will continue to cost us hours in traffic and cost our nation's businesses in timely access to markets.
That’s why, as many Fast Lane readers know, we recently sent our GROW AMERICA proposal to Congress. The name of the bill speaks for itself. It increases funding in our transportation program so we can tackle more projects like Miami’s tunnels and Tampa’s Highways.
It will let us keep pace with our growing population and fuel our growing economy.
Our trip to Florida made it clear that if we want to keep America moving forward, we need Congress to pass a bill like GROW AMERICA. And we’ll keep fighting for it.