Good afternoon. Thank you for the introduction and warm welcome.
Before I get started, let me just say a word of appreciation to a few people without whom today's celebration would not be possible. Thank you, Chairman John Mica, for your leadership in getting transportation projects, like SunRail, up and running in communities across America. Thank you, Congresswoman Corrine Brown, for your leadership in keeping this essential commuter project on track. And thank you, Mayor Buddy Dyer, for your bold vision and tireless advocacy on behalf of commuters across central Florida.
During the last two-and-a-half years, President Obama's administration has been making targeted investments in projects like Florida SunRail as a way to get our fellow citizens back to work and to spur ongoing economic opportunity. Already, we've put tens of thousands of workers on 15,000 roadway, railway, transit, and airport job sites in every state in the union. We're helping communities lay the foundation for economic development through our TIGER program. That's Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery. And, because of these and other efforts, an economy that was shedding jobs is once again creating them. In fact, it's created 2.1 million private sector jobs in the last 16 months.
There's no doubt that we have a long way to go. Too many families -- in Central Florida and across America -- are still feeling the sting of unemployment and hardship. There's no one here who doesn't know someone looking for work who hasn't yet found it. But, we've turned the corner. We're moving in the right direction. And, now, we're building on our progress.
Step one comes in investments like the brand new SunRail commuter rail line, which will link Orlando with Volusia, Seminole, and Osceola counties along a 61-mile track. As you well know, the I-4 corridor is one of the most congested highways in the country. So, commuter rail in Central Florida is clearly an idea whose time has come.
Once construction begins, SunRail will put thousands of Florida men and women to work, in a region that's been hit hard by a tough economy. At the same time, it will bring real transportation choices to greater Orlando. That means more people can opt to skip the traffic and congestion on their way to work, to spend less money on gas, and to reduce America's dependence on expensive foreign oil.
Of course, while this is a huge stride forward for Orlando, Central Florida, and America, we have much more work to do. So, step two is a Transportation Jobs Bill -- which Chairman Mica and I are working on now.
Obviously, we still face a few hurdles in Washington. But at a time when so many construction workers are looking for jobs -- and so many jobs need doing -- this is the moment to repair crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems while building the safest, fastest, most efficient ways of moving people and products. We all agree on this -- Democrats, Republicans, and independents. And, Congressman Mica: I look forward to getting this done for the American people.
After all, each succeeding American generation has demonstrated the foresight and courage to invest in the most important transportation projects of their time. We can do no less -- whether it's new transit systems like Florida SunRail or any of countless other investments that enable people to lead their lives, build their businesses, and keep our economy rolling.
So, my message today is simple: We can still do big things in America. We can once again make this nation's transportation system the envy of the world. I'm proud to join you as we continue doing exactly that. Thank you all very much.