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Remarks by Gregory Nadeau, Acting Administrator, FHWA

Sarah Mildred Long Groundbreaking, Kittery, Maine

Monday, January 5, 2015

Good morning, everyone!

It’s a pleasure to join Senator Collins and all of you to kick off the New Year here at home taking part in this wonderful event!

I’m going to go out on the limb and say this is probably the first major project to get started in 2015. We hope it’s the first of many!

And I’m sure it’s the first project to break ground that got a TIGER grant in the latest round.

So the New Year is off to a great start here in Maine and New Hampshire.

It’s my privilege to represent our nation’s transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, and all my colleagues at the US Department of Transportation.

The Secretary has a very interesting way of describing the state of our nation’s infrastructure, especially our bridges.

He says we have more than 100,000 bridges “old enough to qualify for Medicare.”

Well, the Secretary will be happy to learn that in a couple of years, there will be one fewer of those!

As I mentioned, this project got a real boost when it was awarded a $25 million TIGER grant last fall.

TIGER is having a big impact on the bridges here in New England.

The Memorial Bridge, which we can see from here, got a TIGER grant. So did the Kennebec Bridge, which Senator Collins and I had the privilege of opening on a very cold morning last month. And the Martin Memorial Bridge in Rumford is a TIGER recipient.

So there’s a lot of work being done here in New England to replace bridges dating from the 1930s and 40s with new bridges that will serve us well into the future.

TIGER is a very competitive program. We always get requests for ten or 20 times the amount of money we have available.

That shows you how much demand there is in this country to fund important, much-needed projects, and why we need a long-term plan for investing in transportation.

We introduced a four-year proposal in the last Congress called the GROW AMERICA Act.

We look forward to working with the new Congress on coming up with a plan for ensuring America’s transportation future.

Of course, the transportation community has an obligation to give the taxpayers and Congress the best value for every dollar they invest.

And so we’re working with our state partners through an innovation initiative called Every Day Counts to speed project delivery and deploy proven technologies.

I’m especially pleased that this bridge will be built using one of our Every Day Counts innovations – a form of innovative contracting that we hope will streamline the process and deliver this new bridge sooner.

So it’s a pleasure to be here today to salute the partnership between Maine, New Hampshire and the federal government that’s making this new bridge possible.

I want to close with a word about our top priority in the transportation community – safety.

We ended the year with some very good news. The nation’s highway fatality rate has reached its lowest point EVER.

That said, we still have work to do to make sure everyone gets home to their family safely each and every night.

And so I urge you to always buckle your seat belt, put away your cell phone when you’re driving, and simply drive safely.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thank you very much!!

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Page posted on May 19, 2015.
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