Yesterday, I made my first official visit to Ohio, thanks to an invitation from Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman. It was very great to see firsthand the terrific work being done by the Ohio DOT on the Columbus Crossroads Project, the first major overhaul of this critical highway intersection in more than 50 years.
As Mayor Coleman knows, transportation is about more than the roads we pave. It's about quality of life, and the Columbus Crossroads Project makes that abundantly clear.
Reducing congestion on two interstate highways and in downtown Columbus, the improved intersection will help people spend less time stuck in traffic and more time doing the things that make a difference to them--spending time with their families, working, or taking in a Columbus Clippers baseball game.
By improving access to all that Columbus offers, the Crossroads project is also a bridge to opportunity for those heading downtown, strengthening the city's downtown redevelopment plans in the process.
And better flow through a modernized I-670 / I-71 intersection means improved road safety for drivers and passengers.
More time to do what people want, better access, and improved road safety--this is what an effective transportation network helps make possible.
And just as it can do that in Columbus, Ohio, a safe, efficient transportation network can do that in Columbus, Georgia; Columbus, Kansas; and in Columbus, Mississippi.
But only when we decide to invest in the future.
President Obama's Fix It First proposal 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.
When we invest in critical transportation projects like the Columbus Crossroads Project, we are putting people to work. We are helping businesses expand. We are preparing our nation to compete in a 21st century global economy.
And we're leaving something of value to the next generation.
This is how we create jobs. This is how we connect people to opportunity. This is how we build a better quality of life.