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Remarks by Gregory Nadeau, Deputy Administrator, FHWA

Pleasant Valley Improvement Project Visit

Kansas City, Missouri

Monday, April 27, 2015

Good morning, everyone!

It’s a pleasure to be here today and to see for myself the early work being done on this important project.

I appreciate Dan Niec taking the time to give me an overview.

In the true spirit of the Show Me State, he’s shown me how this project will one day remove a major choke-point from the daily lives of thousands of people, giving them a less congested and safer ride.

That’s why the federal government and the state of Missouri have invested $32 million in a project that we expect will make life a little more pleasant for the people who live and travel in Pleasant Valley.

The truth is, we need projects like this in communities all across the country.

Our transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, has released a report that shows our country is going to have 70 million more people just 30 years from now.

And we’ll need to haul 45 percent more freight than we do today. In fact, for every ten trucks on the road today, they’ll be joined by four more in 2045.

So we have a choice. We can plan for that growth and prosper from it, or we can drown in more congestion, longer commutes and higher freight costs.

I think the people of Missouri – and all Americans – have already made that choice.

They expect their government to deliver a smart, long-term, sustainable plan for meeting their transportation needs today and in the future.

But that’s simply not possible with the way we’re doing business today.

Congress has been funding our program in fits and starts, from one short-term extension to another. Our current extension runs out in exactly one month.

That means in every state, including this one, officials are looking over their “to-do” list and deciding which projects to start and which to put “on hold” because they can’t be sure if the money will be there to build them.

Here in Missouri, about three-quarters of the repair work that needs to be done, won’t get done because the funding just isn’t there.

The state has even created a web site to help the public understand as clearly as possible the dilemma states are facing with so much work to do and so much concern over funding: TOUGH CHOICES.

And so one reason I wanted to come here today is because projects like this one are becoming increasingly rare.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can do better – much better.

That’s why the Obama administration has sent a bill to Congress called the GROW AMERICA Act.

It’s a six-year, $478 billion proposal for making critical investments in our roads and bridges:

  • It gives states the money and the certainty to plan and invest in critical projects like this one.

  • It will support millions of American jobs maintaining the roads and bridges we have today and building the ones for tomorrow.

  • It will help American businesses grow and compete in the global economy.

  • And it will give people better and safer connections to jobs, school, health care or wherever they need to go.

We’re working closely with Congress on this issue.

The good news is, there’s a growing feeling on both sides of the aisle that we need to do SOMETHING to give the American people the infrastructure they need and deserve.

We think the GROW AMERICA Act is the right solution to help secure our transportation future and get projects like this one started all across the country!

Thank you very much!!

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Page posted on May 19, 2015.
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