Obama, Biden on the Record: Infrastructure Investment

So taken together, these projects will reduce the congestion that costs us nearly $80 billion a year; it will save some of the 14,000 people who lose their lives each year because of bad roads and driving conditions; it will create good jobs that pay well and can’t be shipped overseas. By the end of next year, our investments in highway projects alone will create or save 150,000 jobs. I want to repeat that: 150,000 jobs, most of them in the private sector.

I’m pleased that work on some of these projects has already started, and that many more will be underway by this summer. But I want to be very clear that while we’re doing this with speed, we’re also doing it with care. We’ve acted quickly, because our economy, losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each month, means we don’t have a minute to waste. And we’ve acted with care because we don’t have a single taxpayer dollar to waste either.

And that’s why I appointed a proven and aggressive inspector general to root out waste and fraud. That’s why we created a website called recovery.gov, so you can see exactly where your tax dollars are going, and soon you’ll be able to click on the transportation section and track the progress of every project underway.

And that’s why I’m pleased to hear that in state after state across America, competition for these projects is so fierce, and contractors are doing such a good job cutting costs, that projects are consistently coming in under budget. The final bid for one road project in Connecticut was $8.4 million less than the state budgeted for. Another one in Louisiana was $4.7 million less. A project at BWI Airport will be completed for $8 million less than expected. Bids for projects in North Carolina have been 19 percent under budget. Colorado is reporting bids up to 30 percent less than they expected. And the officials in California have seen bids that are close to half as much as they had projected.

And because these projects are proceeding so efficiently, we now have more recovery dollars to go around. And that means we can fund more projects, revitalize more of our infrastructure, put more people back to work, and ensure that taxpayers get more value for their dollars.

Now, I have no illusion about how much work lies ahead and how hard it will be. The road to recovery is long; we will undoubtedly make some mistakes, we’ll face some setbacks along the way, there will be some projects that don’t work the way we want them to. But it is now clear that we’re heading in the right direction. It’s now clear that day by day, project by project, we are making progress.

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