Saying that "the road to recovery must, quite literally, be repaved," Vice President Biden introduced the President at an event marking the 2,000th approved project under the Recovery Act. The President began his remarks on a different note, however:
Before I discuss the purpose of my visit to the Department of Transportation today, I want to take a moment to say how pleased I am about the rescue of Captain Phillips and his safe return to the USS Boxer this weekend. (Applause.) His safety has been our principal concern, and I know this came as a welcome relief to his family and his crew.
I had a chance to talk to his wife yesterday and, as she put it, she couldn't imagine a better Easter than seeing his safe return. And I am very proud of the efforts of the U.S. military and many other departments and agencies that worked tirelessly to resolve this situation. I share our nation's admiration for Captain Phillips' courage and leadership and selfless concern for his crew.
Pledging a renewed international effort to stem the rise of piracy in that region, he then turned back to the ongoing concern of most Americans: the state of the economy and the President’s plan to address it, starting with the Recovery Act:
Today, I think it's safe to say that this plan is beginning to work. We see it in the clean energy companies rehiring workers; in police departments cancelling planned layoffs; in health care clinics planning to expand to care for more folks in need. We see it in the 120 million families who are already taking home larger paychecks because of our Making Work Pay tax cut.
And we see it particularly in the work of this department --in the plans underway to rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, modernize our airports and shipyards, develop high-speed rail networks and restore aging public transit systems. All told, we are making the largest new investment in America's infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System back in the 1950s.
But what is most remarkable about this effort -- and what I'm here to talk about today -- isn't just the size of our investment, or the number of projects we're investing in -- it's how quickly, efficiently, and responsibly those investments have been made.
Today, because these projects are getting approved more quickly than we thought, thanks to in large part the outstanding work of the TIGER team and folks here at the Department of Transportation, and because these projects are costing less than we thought, we can utter a sentence rarely heard in recent years: This government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget. (Applause.)
Giving a nod to construction workers from Maryland and Virginia in the audience, he applauded their hard work rebuilding the country in more ways than one. He then concluded with a smile: "We don't want to keep them too long. They've already got their hard hats. (Laughter.) They are going to go straight into their cars and they're going to go back to work."
President Barack Obama is joined by Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Ray LaHood, right, as he gives remarks on the economy Monday April 13, 2009, during a visit
to the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. White House Photo/Pete Souza