Secretary Anthony Foxx
The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge
St. Louis, MO • February 8, 2014
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
My thanks to Dan McLaughlin of the St. Louis Cardinals broadcasting team for the introduction.
Dan, you might not know this, but according to Major League Baseball, the coldest recorded game an announcer ever called was 23 degrees. So you’re making history today in more ways than one.
To Governor Nixon and Governor Quinn: Thank you for welcoming me to your states – or rather, between your states.
And to all the other senators, representatives, and distinguished guests here, it’s an honor to join you. And that goes especially for former congressman, Jerry Costello.
Thanks in large part to Jerry’s work, and the work of so many others – like Senator Durbin and Senator Bond – the federal government was able to pick up the tab for about 80 percent of this bridge – over 180 million dollars.
And I’m proud of what it built.
Because last week, in his State of the Union, the President called on us to help connect people who are reaching for the middle-class with better jobs and better schools. To build, what he called, “ladders of opportunity.”
And today, in St. Louis, that ladder is a bridge.
In fact, this project has already lifted the lives and the livelihoods of hundreds of people just because of how it was built.
At USDOT, we have a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program that gives small, women- and minority-owned companies a shot at building this nation’s infrastructure.
And on this particular project, 117 different women- and minority- owned companies received 246 contracts worth more than 114 million dollars.
This is important because a diverse workforce can result in better ideas. And, in this case, it did.
Take BRK Electrical Contractors – they’re a small, minority-owned business here in St. Louis. And they formed a joint venture with one of the region’s largest companies in their industry to build the electrical systems for the bridge structure.
The project not only allowed BRK to gain valuable experience so they can tackle larger projects in the future… it also helped the city. Because BRK was instrumental in figuring out that the electrical system called for in the bridge blueprints could be replaced with a much less costly system.
And, as a result, they saved the project one million dollars.
So, today, I think it’s appropriate that this bridge celebrates a man who knew something about the importance of being given a chance – a chance to show what he could do.
Early in his career, Stan Musial was a pitcher who’d injured his throwing arm – and the Cardinals were about to release him… that is, until the Cards’ legendary GM, Branch Rickey heard about it.
“Don’t let him go,” Rickey said, “Put him in the outfield, and let’s see if he can hit.” Twenty-two seasons and over 3,600 hits later, Branch Rickey had his answer.
In no small measure, what Rickey did for Stan Musial gets at the heart of what the Stan Musial Bridge has done, and will do, for the people of this region: It’ll help provide another route for them to achieve their greatest hopes.
I know that sounds dramatic. But that, in the end, is what projects like this do.
And we’ll continue building them all over America.
Thank you. And congratulations.
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