On Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is keeping its promise to use its economic recovery funding to invest in the nation’s transportation system and create jobs.
In remarks to the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C., Secretary LaHood told the gathering of urban officials that the U.S. DOT has moved quickly to release funds to state offices and transit agencies.
“In a very short time, your cities will be humming with construction workers, engineers, maintenance crews and many others,” Secretary LaHood said. “You’ll see roads repaved, interchanges improved, and bus and rail systems repaired, upgraded and expanded.
In addition to funding currently being allocated, there will soon be additional opportunities to compete for discretionary funds for transportation projects, he said. A team of senior officials across the US DOT – the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery team – is tracking every dollar spent in order to ensure accountability and transparency, he added.
LaHood also said that the new authorization bill for highway and transit programs, soon be taken up by Congress, will help keep people employed and transportation healthy after recovery funds are spent. He said the Obama administration will work closely with Congress to enact a bill that will focus on making communities more livable and sustainable. The new authorization also must address the need to look beyond the Highway Trust Fund and find new ways to finance surface transportation programs, such as a National Infrastructure Bank, public-private partnerships and tolling on newly built highways.