Biden, LaHood wrap up ‘Road to Recovery’ tour

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Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off their two-day three-state “Road to Recovery” tour Thursday, June 11, in Carlisle, Pa., where they attended the groundbreaking for the Route 34 bridge project. Biden and LaHood traveled to communities across the country highlighting Recovery Act funds at work intended to create jobs and improve the nation’s infrastructure.

“Recovery Act projects like these are not only putting people to work right now, but are a down payment on our economic future,” Biden says. “We realize the road to recovery, quite literally, needs to be repaved.”

Biden previously visited the Route 34 bridge back in February, one week before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed. Since that time, a $1.7 million Recovery Act contract has been awarded to replace the 80-year-old bridge, and work began Thursday. Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, Sen. Arlen Specter and other local officials also were present at the event.

“Our Recovery Act dollars for transportation projects are on time, on target and making a real difference in hundreds of communities around the country,” LaHood says. “Contractors are hiring, workers are working, and supplies are being purchased with money that is rippling through the economy.”

Biden and LaHood concluded their tour today, June 12, in Kalamazoo, Mich., where they attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the I-94 widening and Westnedge Avenue interchange reconstruction project. They were joined by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.

The event marked the groundbreaking of the 2,000th transportation construction project funded under the Recovery Act. The $43.9 million project to widen and enhance I-94 is intended to help relieve congestion along one of Michigan’s main commercial trucking corridors. Since this project was announced in April, an additional 2,500 transportation construction projects have been funded under the Recovery Act, for a total of about 4,500 projects in 53 states and U.S. territories.

Biden also announced that the Treasury Department is making Recovery Zone Bonds available. The Recovery Zone Bond program was created by the Recovery Act and helps states and communities hardest hit by the recession attract new jobs and new private investment.