Since day one, more than four years ago, President Obama and all of us at the Department of Transportation have been committed to putting people back to work rebuilding and repairing our infrastructure.
Beginning with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the most significant public works program since the New Deal, we awarded $48 billion for more than 15,000 transportation projects across the nation which created tens of thousands of jobs. The Recovery Act projects lead to nearly 42,000 miles of road improved, over 2,700 bridges improved or replaced and the purchase or rehabilitation of over 12,220 transit vehicles. And we continued that work over the next four years, from our TIGER grants and our new fuel-economy standards to our passenger rail improvements, to help put people back to work and help them get where they need to go as efficiently and affordably as possible.
Today, the President laid out a budget that builds on the progress we’ve made by investing in the things we need to grow our economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class, all while further reducing the deficit in a balanced way. The President’s budget funds critical investments in our nation’s infrastructure, furthers our promise to deliver 21st century transportation, and continues our deep commitment to safety.
The President’s 2014 budget requests $77 billion for the Department of Transportation.
On top of that, the budget requests an additional $50 billion for immediate investments to support critical infrastructure projects, such as improving America’s roads, bridges, transit systems, border crossings, railways, and runways. This includes $40 billion in “fix-it-first” investments for improving existing infrastructure assets and $10 billion to help encourage State and local innovation in infrastructure development.
Together, these proposals will help us create jobs and invest in the 21 century transportation that our businesses need to compete. They deliver on the President’s vision in his State of the Union address to prove there’s “no better place to do business than the United States of America.”
In 2009, President Obama laid out his vision for high-speed intercity passenger rail in America. And we have worked hard to fulfill that vision—building or improving 6,000 miles of rail and upgrading 40 train stations nationwide. Today, we have trains hitting 110 MPH in Midwest, and the nation’s first 220 MPH high-speed rail network is set to break ground in California this year. In the process, our investments have helped create jobs and spur private sector investment in downtown districts across the country.
The proposed 2014 budget builds on our hard work and continues to fulfill his vision of a high-performance rail system that safely and effectively moves people and our economy.
The President’s budget also continues to support our ongoing efforts to modernize our National Airspace System by investing over $1 billion in NextGen.
Through our NextGen initiative, we are moving from ground-based systems to satellite-based navigation. Airlines are already beginning to see the benefits of the work we’ve done so far. Airplanes approaching the Washington DC area started using satellite routes last August—saving an estimated 760,000 gallons of jet fuel in the first year alone.
The President’s 2014 budget will help us continue to move our aviation system forward by improving capacity, ensuring safety, and enhancing predictability for the traveling public.
The proposed FY 2014 budget also fully supports MAP-21, the transportation bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last summer.
In 2014, we are proposing to direct $53 billion in resources towards our highway, transit and highway safety programs. This funding ensures that we continue to improve our highway and transit infrastructure, and it helps us keep America’s transportation systems safe.
America was built on big ideas and bold action—like the Transcontinental Railroad, the Erie Canal, and the Interstate Highway System. We became the greatest country in the world because generations before us had the courage and the foresight to invest in a better future.
Today, we also have a duty to invest in the future, and that begins with the circulatory system of our economy and our way of life--it begins with transportation.
This country needs--and its people deserve--a modern transportation network that helps create jobs, encourages businesses to expand, and helps us compete in a global economy. That's exactly the transportation system that the President’s 2014 budget for DOT seeks to build.