Hello everyone. It's great to be here in Columbus!
I want to thank Mayor Coleman for inviting me here. This is my first trip to Ohio as the Secretary of Transportation, and I'm very happy to see first-hand the great work you're doing.
As Mayor Coleman knows, transportation is about more than the roads we pave or the trains we build.
Transportation is a bridge to opportunity.
When we invest in critical transportation projects like the Columbus Crossroads Project, we are putting people to work.
We are helping businesses expand.
And we are preparing our nation to compete in a 21st century global economy.
This project is a great example of what one generation can do for the next.
The Columbus Crossroads Project is the first major overhaul of Interstates 70 and 71 in over 50 years.
And it is one of the state's most important projects.
The Columbus Crossroads Project will make a real difference in Columbus--
reducing congestion downtown,
and improving safety for both drivers and pedestrians.
And it will strengthen the city's redevelopment plans.
Most importantly, ODOT is building this project in a smarter, better, faster way.
By using Design Build, one of our Every Day Counts innovations, ODOT is saving the Ohio taxpayers as much as $40 million in the first phase of this project.
As ODOT knows all too well, Design Build streamlines the process for both the state DOT and the contractor, increases flexibility for the contractor and reduces revisions by the designer.
This means savings for taxpayers, fewer delays thanks to less paperwork, and faster construction.
On top of that--we're using over 100,000 tons of warm mix asphalt on the project.
Now, warm mix asphalt may not yet be a household name.
But this new paving technology uses less fuel, reduces emissions and extends the paving season in colder climates.
All of this is good news for taxpayers. By 2020, we expect Warm Mix Asphalt to help us save more than $3.5 billion dollars.
Both of these Every Day Counts innovations are great examples of how we're stretching our dollars further--and they are a sign of what's to come.
As Secretary of Transportation, my overriding priority is to make our transportation system the safest and most efficient in the world.
But I can't do this alone. We need everyone--local, state and federal, urban and rural, public and private--to work together on this.
Since day one, President Obama and DOT have worked hard to build the roads and bridges, railways and runways that make America stronger for future generations.
It's all part our plan to secure a better bargain for the middle class--making sure everyone who works hard has a chance to succeed in a 21st century economy.
President Obama has put forth his Fix It First proposal, which would immediately invest $50 billion in our nation's bridges, roads, transit system and airports--
With $40 billion targeted to our most urgent upgrades and repairs, like the 100,000 bridges that are, as the President puts it, old enough to qualify for Medicare.
At the same time, we're working hard at the Department to find ways to be as efficient as possible with our transportation dollars, just as you have done here in Columbus.
And we're working to encourage more states and cities to work with the private sector so that 21st century businesses have the tools they need to expand and hire.
But the truth is--we can't just cut our way to prosperity.
And that's why President Obama has proposed a deal that simplifies the tax code for our businesses and creates good jobs with good wages for middle-class families.
President Obama has laid out his jobs plan--and he's willing to work with Members of Congress to invest in a stronger America.
But they've got to come to the table.
They've got to follow your lead--and invest in our future.
Congratulations Columbus--you're building a better city for future generations.
This is how we create jobs.
This is how we connect people to opportunity.
This is how we build a better quality of life.