At NABI’s headquarters in Anniston, Alabama, workers are building state-of-the-art transit buses that help millions of Americans connect with their jobs. What they do is important not only for Anniston, but for the entire country.
This morning, I saw for myself the great work they do to provide transit agencies throughout the nation with new, reliable, fuel-efficient buses. I even got to see some buses that are destined for WMATA in Washington, DC – so one day soon I might get to ride one.
To start the third day of my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour, I visited the east side of Atlanta’s planned BeltLine project. This 22-mile ring of trails and transit and parks will not only connect more than 45 communities, but will connect people with better jobs, better education, and a higher quality of life.
This is what the President calls a “ladder of opportunity.” And to get a sense of just how game-changing this project would be, all you have to do is look at how game-changing recent transit projects in Atlanta have been.
I want to introduce you to some of the people I am meeting on our bus tour. I’ve always believed transportation is more than steel, concrete, and asphalt; it’s ultimately about the people across America – those who work to build it and those who use it (all of us).
Yesterday, I met Wayne Cupp, the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine, and Furniture Workers – Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) Local 84765 President at the Siemens motor plant in Norwood, Ohio.
Over the past two days, I’ve visited projects where investment in transportation has made a huge difference in peoples’ lives, creating jobs and lifting whole communities. Unfortunately, there are some communities where there isn’t enough funding for investments like these.
That’s why I visited Nashville, Tennessee this afternoon – meeting with Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee DOT – to see the I-40 bridges.
After visiting the Ohio River Bridges project, I headed to UPS Worldport in Louisville, where I had a great conversation with Scott Davis, Chairman and CEO of UPS, and business leaders from around the region.
What they made clear to me is the scope of the challenge we’re facing when it comes to transportation in America.
By 2050, we’re going to have to haul an additional 14 billion tons of freight around this country. Needless to say, without new investment, supply chains will fall apart, hindering job growth and harming retailers, manufacturers, and the millions of American consumers who need their goods to be transported efficiently and affordably.
That’s why we’re working so hard to spread the message that investments in infrastructure are absolutely crucial to the health of our nation’s economy.
After our roundtable discussion, I had a chance to tour the Worldport facility with Scott Davis. It’s a great operation – processing an average of 1.6 million packages a day. In fact, I learned that the average package spends only 13 minutes inside the facility! We have one of the best freight systems in the world – but we need to continue investing to stay that way.
This morning, I began the second day of my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour with a visit to the Ohio River Bridges project in Louisville, Kentucky. And although the temperatures were a little chilly for springtime, the warm welcome from many members of the community demonstrated their strong support for and excitement about this project.
Currently one of the nation’s largest highway construction projects, when completed in 2016, it will be the first time in more than 50 years that people in the Louisville area have a new bridge.
My final stop of the day on my week-long “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour was a visit to Siemens’ Norwood Motors Manufacturing Facility.
This plant was built at the turn of the 19th century, when railroads symbolized the nation’s revolution in technology.
And thanks to companies like Siemens, rail is helping once again to lead a new era of American innovation.
This afternoon, my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour stopped in downtown Dayton, Ohio, where I had the chance to tour the I-75 modernization project currently under way.
I met with workers who aren’t just repairing this highway, they’re also increasing its capacity, so that tens of thousands more vehicles will be able to travel this road every day. In order to keep up with our growing population, a third lane is being added.
The project is also bringing needed safety improvements to the area by removing left-hand exit and entry ramps. The last phase of this project reduced crashes at a spot once known as “Malfunction Junction” – but I doubt it’ll have that name anymore.
This morning, I traveled to Pickaway County, Ohio to kick off my “Invest in America, Commit to the Future” bus tour. Over the next five days, I’ll be traveling to eight states – and logging roughly 2,000 miles – to raise awareness about the difference transportation can make in our country and the importance of investing in better transportation – and a brighter future.
There’s no better example than the work taking place right now in Pickaway County to improve our ability to move freight in Ohio and across the country.
This road project received $16 million from DOT’s TIGER program. And it’s a worthwhile investment because it’s going to make a difference in the lives of hundreds – if not hundreds of thousands – of Americans.
On the bus next week, I'll visit communities where investment in transportation is making a big difference in people's lives--where it allows them to get to a job or college, where it makes moving a farmer's goods to market easier, and where it creates new jobs.
But it's a big country, and I can't see it all in a single week, and I won't be able to hear everyone's stories on one trip. So I could use your help...