Excerpted Remarks Delivered by Peter Rogoff, FTA
[Audio of Administrator Rogoff remarks (Windows Media)]
And on behalf of President Obama and Secretary LaHood, I want to congratulate everyone along the Fitchburg line.
We’re here today to celebrate a $75 million Federal investment in a much broader program to improve the reliability of the Fitchburg line—the worst performing line in MBTA’s commuter rail system.
But the fact is, we should be doing a lot more than this $75 million for the Fitchburg line.
And we can do a lot more if Congress would pass the American Jobs Act.
The American Jobs Act, by itself, will produce $382 million in additional Federal funding just for transit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
$315 million of that will go to the MBTA.
And that would allow us to do for the Haverhill line, what we are doing today for the Fitchburg line, to improve the reliability of service for the people in those communities.
It would allow us to improve the cars that people ride on the Red Line and the Orange Line; to improve the quality of the bridges.
We know the needs are out there.
The MBTA, by its own estimation, has an unmet capital need of more than $2.5 billion just to maintain the system as it is today.
And if Congress would get off the dime and pass the Americans Jobs Act, we could get almost $3 million into the Commonwealth to address that need tomorrow and put thousands of Americans to work.
We know the needs are out there and we know the jobs can be produced.
We learned with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that these initiatives create jobs.
It’s not an issue for economists to debate. It’s a known fact. And if you go to the Recovery.gov website and click on any part of America, you’ll see precisely the projects and precisely the jobs that we created with the Recovery Act here in Massachusetts.
We’re going to have the exact same performance in creating jobs through the American Jobs Act. Congress just needs to pass it.
Let me just mention also, you people are extraordinarily blessed to have leadership like John Olver and Niki Tsongas representing this community, and the neighboring communities.
They know that reliable transit is the difference between getting home to see your kids and have dinner and supervise homework, or not.
It’s the difference between getting to work on time, or not./p>
And who in this economy tolerates employees that can’t get to work on time?
I’ll let her tell the story, but Congresswoman Tsongas has an interesting tale to tell about when there was a delay on the system of some 40 minutes and she happened to be at the Acton station.
And the kind words she heard from her constituents about being 40 minutes late that day.
If we pass the American Jobs Act, we can improve the reliability of this system just as we are on the Fitchburg line.
We could do for the Haverhill line, for the Red Line, for the Orange Line, precisely what we are doing for Fitchburg.
Congress needs to pass the Jobs Act now!
Thanks very much.