Biden on the Record: Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation Conference

and what kind of plans you need to submit in order to be able to do that.

Second, through the Department of Transportation, the first funding allocations for airport infrastructure projects are being made today — $10 million to the Pittsburgh International Airport, $2 million to the Allegheny County Airport. This money will be used for runway, taxiway, and ramp repair. Again, this is money that would create jobs now, but it’s also an investment in long-term safety of our airports and of their economic viability. Altogether, $1 billion in Recovery Act money has been allocated to airport projects.

There are 3,000 — I need not tell many of you — there are 3,400 airports all across your states that will be eligible to compete for this money. But our main purpose here today is not funding announcements, or even to hear from people like me. It’s for you to have direct access to the various agencies running these recovery programs.

Many of you have contacted me personally and said, Joe, how do we do this? What are the rules, what are the regs? How do we get this done? What do we do? We want to do it by the numbers; tell us what we need to know. Well, you have an opportunity today to ask questions about the funds that we’ll be overseeing, the requirements for receiving these funds and the steps you’ll need to take. And it will be a long day, it will be a long day, but an important day, in my view.

But I promise you, you’ll leave here with helpful information you need, a commitment by key administration officials to get you what you need, and it may be a bit dry, but it’s the nuts and bolts of the hard work of making this program work. And that’s what the purpose of today is.

I will be leaving here to meet with — I assemble the Cabinet about once a week. It’s unusual, I know, for Vice Presidents to call Cabinet meetings, but we feel this is so important that I meet with the Cabinet members to sit down and I want to know every week what they’re doing, what their plans are, how much money is out the door, how they’re attempting to account for it. I met yesterday for a long time with the IG who’s in charge of this, Mr. Devaney, and him putting together his staff and the resources he needs to oversee this. As he says, we’re not looking to find corruption, we’re looking to prevent it. We’re looking at the front end of this to prevent errors — to prevent errors. This is not a witch hunt. This is to make sure that we spend this money well.

And so we’re taking this very seriously. I know some of you may be frustrated — you don’t have all the answers right away. But keep in mind, we’ve been in office 50 days — 50 days and this has been around about 30 days, maybe less than that. And

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