Ray LaHood: Cities Have Good Reason for Optimism

180184743_fcae738a19_m.jpgPhoto by gravitywave via Flickr

This job just keeps getting better. Last month, I addressed transportation leaders from the States; today I get to address the National League of Cities. Just as I had good news for the states, today I can say there are many positives on the horizon for American cities.

Whether you’re from a rural, suburban, or urban area, we all can agree that cities provide energy, diversity, and the capacity to drive economic activity. American cities are great innovators, and though times are tough in our cities right now, they will emerge from this challenge stronger and smarter, with new ideas and efficiencies that enhance the quality of urban life.

Because of the release of stimulus funds, cities will soon be humming with construction workers, engineers, and maintenance crews. You’ll see roads repaved, interchanges improved, and bus and rail systems repaired, upgraded, and expanded.

But, the stimulus is just the beginning. We need to find ways to keep people employed — and keep transportation healthy — after these recovery funds are expended. To that end, this administration is committed to strengthening and streamlining all federal transportation programs. As I told the National Bike Summit last week, we are absolutely committed to more livable, sustainable communities by reducing congestion, by building housing near transit, by supporting all modes of transportation.

Tomorrow, I will speak to a House Appropriations panel on our commitment to livable mobility. The era of one-size-fits-all transportation projects must give way to one where preserving and enhancing the qualities that make each community special, whether it’s rural or urban, is a primary goal rather than an afterthought.

The highways, airports, and transit systems of cities must provide the mobility needed to move people and goods as safely and efficiently as possible. One of the pleasures of this job is knowing that, working together, that’s a job we can get done.