Last Thursday, at a new heavy equipment plant in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, the first American-made Volvo Wheel Loader rolled off the line.
And joining Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafström and Volvo Construction Equipment President Pat Olney to cut the ribbon on the company's Region Americas headquarters was Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.
The new wheel loader is exactly the kind of heavy equipment crews use in highway maintenance and upgrades across the United States. So, like all of us at DOT, Administrator Mendez is happy to see a roadwork-ready heavy loader made in America.
As the Administrator said, "I can’t wait to see the Made in America equipment you’re producing here being put to work on highway projects all across this great country!"
Administrator Mendez also pointed out that we are now in the middle of economic recovery as we work our way out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Unemployment is now at its lowest level in four years. Companies are hiring.
And part of the reason for this growth is that--from the day he took office--President Obama made rebuilding our nation's infrastructure a key part of rebuilding our nation's economy.
The President understands that a safe and strong infrastructure is the best way to keep freight moving, attract new businesses, and generally improve the quality of life in communities. He understands that that, in turn, helps attract even more businesses and more jobs. And he understands that we need to keep our momentum going by continuing to invest in the nation's infrastructure.
That's why, during his State of the Union address, President Obama introduced his Fix It First program, a $40 billion investment in fixing the roads, bridges, transit systems and airports in greatest need of repair. With legislative support for this program, we could put a lot of "Made in Shippensburg" wheel loaders to work–and put a lot of Pennsylvanians to work on the new assembly line.
The President is also proposing a Rebuild America Partnership to bring more private investment to the table. Combined, these two programs will help ensure that our economy keeps growing and that companies operating here--like Volvo Construction Equipment--keep hiring.
This is not the time to short our country's future; it's the time to continue investing today for improved economic competitiveness tomorrow.