This morning I was in New Haven, Connecticut, to talk about safety because I wanted my first official visit as Secretary to focus on DOT's first priority--safety. So, many thanks to Governor Dannel Malloy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro for welcoming me and giving me the opportunity to start my official travel on the right track.
If you follow transportation news, you probably remember the crash this spring of two Metro-North commuter trains in Connecticut. Although 2012 was the safest year in railroading history, the Metro-North crash reminds us that--when it comes to safety--our job is never done.
As Secretary, my overriding priority is to make our transportation system the safest in the world--and that's exactly what we're doing at DOT.
By working together with private industry, state DOTs and other stakeholders, we can save lives. Through our oversight of the nation's rail and transit systems, we are providing continuous safety improvements across the country and working to ensure that when someone steps aboard a train in this country, that train is safe.
The investments we're making in rail are increasing safety across the country. They are also helping local and state economies grow.
In Connecticut, $366 million in federal and state funds will help install more than 25 miles of double track on the New Haven-Springfield line to reduce trip times and add eleven more roundtrips.
We've also launched NEC FUTURE, the first comprehensive Northeast Corridor planning effort since the Carter Administration. This effort is a testament to the hard work and cooperation of local officials up and down the east coast, and it will help us outline a 30-year plan to guide our investments in the future.
We're putting people to work fixing bridges and installing new high-level platforms. We're revitalizing train stations and ensuring all public grade crossings have active warning devices and gates.
This is economic renewal. This is jobs. This is the future.
And to keep strengthening American transportation and the American economy, we'll need to continue this momentum.
That's why President Obama has proposed a five-year, $40 billion rail reauthorization proposal that would allow DOT to build on the great progress made to date by investing in a National High Performance Rail System.
Our highways, runways, and transit systems all have a sustained source of federal funding. The time has come to put rail on par with our highways and other modes of transportation. States, local governments, and the private sector are looking for predictability. And they are counting on us to deliver.
Working together, we can invest in a rail network that is faster, more reliable, more efficient, and --above all-- even safer.