U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called on Congress to pass the transportation portion of the American Jobs Act during a visit to the Bridgeport-Norristown Viaduct outside Philadelphia, a century-old passenger rail bridge that is among the hundreds of pieces of transportation infrastructure across Pennsylvania in serious need of upgrades and repairs.
The investments made under the transportation portion of the American Jobs Act could put hundreds of thousands of people to work in Pennsylvania and around the country, renovating and rebuilding roads, rails and runways.
"There's no such thing as a Democratic or Republican bridge, and there's no such thing as a Democratic or Republican job when it comes to rebuilding our aging infrastructure," said Secretary LaHood, who was joined by state and local officials. "Congress needs to pass the transportation portion of the American Jobs Act as soon as possible so we can continue to modernize our transportation systems and keep our economy moving forward."
The transportation piece of President Obama's American Jobs Act would make an immediate investment of $50 billion in America's transportation infrastructure and put people back to work upgrading 150,000 miles of road, laying or maintaining 4,000 miles of train tracks, restoring 150 miles of runways and putting in place a next-generation air-traffic control system that will reduce travel time and delays.
The President's legislation would also make a $10 billion investment to create a nonpartisan National Infrastructure Bank that would operate independently and issue loans for major transportation and infrastructure projects based on two criteria: how badly a road, bridge, transit, water or energy project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy.
The Jobs Act would invest $50 billion in crucial transportation projects, including about $1.4 billion for projects across Pennsylvania. As part of that $1.4 billion, Pennsylvania would receive $384.2 million in much-needed federal transit assistance that could be used to repair and rehabilitate infrastructure such as the Bridgeport Viaduct that Secretary LaHood visited, which was built by the Philadelphia and Western Railroad a century ago in 1911.
The transportation investments made under the American Jobs Act include:
- $27 billion for rebuilding roads and bridges.
- $9 billion for repairing bus and rail transit systems.
- $5 billion for innovative large-scale projects selected through a competitive national grant program.
- $4 billion to continue constructing America's high-speed rail network.
- $2 billion for improving airport facilities.
- $2 billion for upgrades to Amtrak equipment, cars and stations.
- $1 billion to put in place NextGen air traffic control system.