White House Blog: United Streetcar Putting Americans to Work, Putting America in Position to Win The Future

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on April 12, 2011

(Ed. note: This was originally posted on the Department of Transportation blog.)

When you watch our latest video, “Transporting America: United Streetcar,” you’ll see the next generation of transportation. You’ll see transit investments from the Department of Transportation helping people get where they need to go without breaking the bank. And you’ll see a company out-innovating and out-building its foreign competition while creating jobs for American workers.

The streetcars rolling through Portland,Oregon, are helping commuters beat the rising cost of refueling their cars and vans and trucks. And, as rising gas prices take a bigger bite out of family budgets, other communities are looking to ease that bite through similar transportation options.

As commuter Jim Winkle says in the video, “It’s made a huge difference.”

That’s why the Department of Transportation has supported streetcar projects in communities like Portland across America. From Charlotte, North Carolina, andWashington, DC, to Tucson, Arizona, andDallas, Texas, grants from the Federal Transit Administration are helping jump-start the American streetcar renaissance.

United Streetcar president Chandra Brownagrees: “The Department of Transportation has been a true partner as the streetcar industry has developed. Without their assistance, we could not have made the private investment to make this new industry successful.”

That’s good news for commuters and their families. It’s also good news for American workers because, at United Streetcar, they’re manufacturing the first American streetcars in more than 50 years.

And we mean “American.” The cars rolling out of United Streetcar are entirely Buy America compliant. That means United Streetcar’s innovation is creating an economic ripple effect, providing business for an all-American supply chain of more than 200 different vendors in 20-plus states across the U.S.

I love the idea of DOT grants helping create American jobs, and I love the idea of helping American families with options to ease the pinch they feel at the pump. But there’s also the pride I hear in workers–like welder Steve Goodman and construction foreman Casey Peacock–who know that for the first time in more than 50 years America can build its own streetcars.

And not only build our own streetcars–this company is bold enough to take on its foreign competitors by planning to export the cars they make.

President Obama has challenged Americans to dream big and build big. United Streetcar has risen to that challenge, and they’re doing it all with American parts, labor, and ingenuity. That means less congestion on our roads, more jobs for American workers, and a future we are prepared to win.

Ray LaHood is the Secretary of Transportation.

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