Deputy director part of delegation meeting
with U.S. Transportation secretary
ITD Deputy Director Scott Stokes and his counterparts in Montana and Wyoming were part of a delegation of transportation officials from throughout the nation who met with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently to discuss the federal economic recovery spending package.
Stokes, Jim Lynch (Montana), and John Cox (Wyoming) contributed key points to discussion during the final hour of the informal meeting.
They emphasized the value of interconnected Interstate and National Highway systems to the nation’s economy.
“This allows the efficient exchange of products across and through the states for rapid and safe delivery,” Stokes explained. “This connectivity and the continuation of mobility in rural states has an important national value.”
“The upshot of these meetings,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “is that we have thousands of worthwhile transportation projects that are ready to go. They’ve cleared all the hurdles and just need the funding,” said Secretary LaHood. “The U.S. Department of Transportation is ready to get the money out the door. We now need the Congress to pass a final bill.”
Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , and President Barak Obama signed the bill in Denver Tuesday (Feb. 17).
The meeting with transportation officials took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Eugene Conti, one of more than 40 state transportation heads at the meeting, said, “NCDOT, along with other transportation departments across the nation, has been working to identify projects that would both improve our transportation system and create needed jobs. This funding is key to helping us address the growing economic and infrastructure challenges we are currently facing.”
Secretary LaHood said the bills provide approximately $46 billion for transportation infrastructure, including up to $30 billion for highways, $12 billion for transit, $3.1 billion for passenger rail and $3 billion for airports.
The Transportation Secretary told participants that accountability would be one of his highest priorities and that his Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER ) team would closely monitor all aspects of the recovery funding.
The Secretary’s TIGER team is composed of officials from across the department’s operating administrations and offices. The team is co-chaired by Lana Hurdle, deputy assistant secretary for budget and programs, and Joel Szabat, deputy assistant secretary for transportation policy.