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Creating jobs today by investing in high-performance rail

Recently I posted on this blog about my visit to a Siemens plant in Louisville, Kentucky, where investments in rail have created new jobs.

Well, to quote Yogi Berra, my visit on July 8 to Columbus Castings in Ohio was like “déjà vu all over again.” Once again, I saw proof that improvements in our rail system create new orders for manufacturers and suppliers, and new jobs for American workers.

During my tour, I saw skilled employees making components for one order that is modernizing Amtrak’s long-distance services.  Columbus Castings added more than 30 new jobs for just this one order.

Photo of a worker at Columbus Castings

DOT updates Highway Trust Fund tickers as shortfall looms

Today, as we've been doing each month since January, the Department of Transportation updated our Highway Trust Fund tickers. The tickers are charts showing how much money we have left to spend on roads, bridges, and transit --and how quickly it is running out.

If you've been reading the Fast Lane this spring, you know that our budget analysts have projected a shortfall in the Highway Account before we reach the end of this fiscal year. So far, all of their monthly predictions have been on target, and this month was no different. Unfortunately, that accuracy is not good news, because it means we're still expecting a shortfall as early as August.

In a challenging legislative environment, that doesn't give us a lot of time...

Chart depicting end-of-month balances for the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund

It's time to GROW AMERICA

Today, I’m sending a legislative proposal to Congress that is designed to bring transportation ideas to the table.

Already, we’ve seen both parties make significant progress towards a bipartisan agreement on a multi-year bill that extends opportunity for workers and businesses alike. We believe our bill will help continue that progress.

The GROW AMERICA bill is based on the proposal the President announced in February. It ensures the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and also advances a number of common-sense bipartisan reforms...

Photo collage of various modes of transportation

Off the bus, but pressing on

It sure feels good to be home again after last week's "Invest In America, Commit to the Future" bus tour. But what we saw on our trip--and what we've heard from people around the country and state DOTs--has only motivated us to work harder to help bring this nation the transportation certainty Americans need.

The job of getting a multi-year transportation bill--one that funds the safe and dependable infrastructure our economic growth requires--continues, and we can't afford to rest until we've reached the finish line...

Meeting workers near the Ohio River Bridges in Kentucky

"Invest in America, Commit to the Future" bus tour

This morning, I announced that I will spend the next week traveling across the country with a simple message: Americans across the country need new and better transportation options to help them get to school, get to work or start a business; the President has proposed a way to do all this without adding to the deficit...if we can get Congress to say "yes” to investing in America by committing to a multi-year transportation bill.

Transportation connects Americans to opportunity. From the canals built just after our independence to the transcontinental railroad to the interstate highway system, better transportation has always led this nation to greater prosperity...

Proposed budget gives transit investment the boost it needs

In 2013, transit ridership in the US exceeded 10.7 billion passenger trips. That's great news, but keeping up with that level of demand for public transportation is an enormous challenge.

Last week, President Obama proposed an aggressive budget for transportation that would increase FTA’s funding by more than 60%. It’s a big ask, but a necessary one to pave the way for the President’s other big initiative: a four-year, $302 billion reauthorization package that would bring us more predictable funding and help us tackle many of the challenges we face.

Taken together, these two policy priorities speak volumes about this Administration’s unflagging commitment to revitalize public transportation in this country, address our infrastructure deficit, and provide ladders of opportunity to millions of Americans who need more access to transit service.

Photo of FRA Administrator Szabo and Deputy FTA Administrator McMillan at the American Public Transportation Association legislative conference

Report highlights transportation infrastructure deficit

The good news? Thanks to the Obama Administration's unprecedented Recovery Act transportation investments, travel on American roads in good condition rose from 46.4 percent in 2008 to 50.6 percent in 2010. That's the highest two-year jump since we began using that metric.

The other news? We still have a lot of work to do. The same report that showed the increase in good condition roads, "2013 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance," confirms that this nation needs greater investment to maintain and improve our highway and transit systems...

Photo collage of bridges in need of repair, courtesy of Business Week


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