America Fast Forward on the Fast Track

Today, thanks to the hard work of Senator Boxer, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and our leading champion of America Fast Forward, along with Senators Inhofe, Baucus and Vitter we got a first look at the draft legislation to reauthorize our federal transportation programs. And it's great news for our transportation infrastructure nationwide. This bipartisan announcement will help cities across the country leverage their limited local funds with federal dollars and create the jobs we need to literally build our way out of the recession.

While there is still much work to be done, the legislation previewed today seeks to maintain critical funding for surface transportation, consolidate duplicative efforts across various departments, expedite key projects that will create jobs and grow our economy and -- most importantly -- stretch federal dollars further by making America Fast Forward a reality.

Back in February, I testified at a Joint Congressional Field Hearing here in LA and spoke to the importance of developing a comprehensive, national approach to financing transportation and highway projects. Business groups and labor advocates sat side-by-side in support of this plan, which we called America Fast Forward.

Today's announcement to make changes to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) puts us one step closer to realizing the vision of America Fast Forward, which means putting people back to work and building the 21st century infrastructure we need to drastically reduce traffic and commutes. I am tremendously thankful for the hard work and support of Senators Boxer, Inhofe, Baucus, and Vitter, who came together in recognition of the fact that job creation and infrastructure investment is not a partisan or political issue -- it's simply what our country needs, and it's what we need right now.

Across America, this legislation will create nearly one million jobs. In Los Angeles, it will allow us to complete our Measure R transportation plan much faster than we originally planned, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, taking cars off the road, creating more sustainable neighborhoods, and giving families back their time.

Although we don't yet know all of the details of this legislation, we do know it's an important step in the right direction, and that it will give our unemployed construction workers a reason to put their hard hats on again.