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Orlando BRT Press Conference

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Location: Orlando, FL

Thank you all -- and thank you to Congresswoman Brown and Congressman Grayson for joining me.

And thanks, especially, to Anne Lauer, too.

You might not know Anne, but she's 86-years-old. She lives here in Orlando near East Church Street, where she moved so she could be closer to the bus route.

And while Anne wasn't sitting in the Capitol for Tuesday's State of the Union address, she sees everyday exactly what the President meant when he talked about "building new ladders of opportunity into the middle class."

Because Anne takes the bus.

And while Anne rides the bus mainly to see shows and events downtown, she also rides it with people who manage the stage at those shows -- and who do the security at those events.

For them -- and for millions of other Americans -- good transit systems are the "ladders" the President spoke about -- the connections to good, middle-class jobs.

This is the reason I'm in Orlando today. Because we're creating another one of those connections right here.

Today, Anne and I took a tour of this city's soon-to-be opened East-West BRT line. At DOT, we were so very proud to provide 80 percent of the funding for this project -- nearly $8 million --from the Federal Transit Administration's "New Starts" program.

When it opens this Spring, this bus line will double the number of riders in this city, to 8,000 every day, giving them a faster -- and free -- way to get to jobs at this city's new performing arts center, for example… or soccer stadium… or courthouse… and, then, home again.

Think about what that means for someone who used to spend hours commuting -- or who could barely afford the bus, let alone a car.

The President said on Tuesday that somewhere in America "a man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son."

In a couple of weeks, that man might be a man from this community -- and the bus he takes might be one that pulls up to this stop.

And if that's the case, the dreams he's been dreaming for his son -- and for his daughter -- can be even bigger now.

Because now -- thanks to this transit system -- he'll have more time at home to help them with their homework. And more money to save for their college education

That's what climbing the ladder of opportunity looks like.

And it's why all of us at the Department of Transportation will continue to slash bureaucracy and simplify our permitting process so more projects like this can be built faster.

And it's why we'll continue to echo the President's call for legislation that funds infrastructure -- and to work with Congress to make it happen.

Thank you.


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