Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was recently joined by Federal Transit Administrator Chief Peter Rogoff, Mayor Annise Parker, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Congressman Gene Green, Congressman Al Green, METRO CEO George Greanias, METRO Chair Gilbert Garcia and Greater Houston Partnership Chair Larry Kellner for today’s signing of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA).
This is an exciting day for Houston, Texas and Houstonians. Not only will these federal funds help with building infrastructure for the Houston area, it will also help produce jobs for our community. Houston hurdled many obstacles when it came to this funding but as always Houston stayed the course. We now owe a great deal of thanks to the Houstonians who voted to move forward with this project and to the many local officials who helped make this happen.
She would like to thank President Obama for acknowledging the value of this project for the Houston region by placing this request into his FY 2010 budget that came before Congress. This is the first time President Obama put this in his budget. At my invitation Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood came to Houston and was very impressed with Metro’s progress. Consequently, I was also able to secure id=mce_marker5 million dollars for the Texas Department of Transportation to study High Speed Rail for the area.
A well-functioning transportation system is critical to the Nation’s prosperity. Whether it is by road, transit, aviation, rail, or waterway, we rely on our transportation system to move people and goods safely, facilitate commerce, attract and retain businesses, and support jobs. The $900 million FFGA signed today is critical for the regional mobility of the citizens of the vast communities within and around the 18th Congressional District. Cities around the country are struggling with a backlog of transportation projects and have difficulty in securing federal, state, and local resources in light of the struggling economy. At the same time, America is facing growing unemployment, particularly in our cities.
Houston needs this infrastructure to relieve congestion and provide adequate public transportation, but it also needs this because an investment in Houston’s New Start Transit Project means jobs for Houston’s constituents through the transportation sector in its communities and around the nation. As Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security, Congresswoman Jackson Lee understands the vital importance of ensuring we have a developed RAIL and transit system. Houston has been working for over twenty years to bring these New Starts Projects to fruition. Houston is very close to finishing but needs a little assistance to make it to the finish line. I have worked tirelessly to ensure that the METRO RAIL New Starts Project gets completed and gets completed in an expeditious manner.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has worked with METRO to secure jobs thru using small businesses and local contractors to help the broader community have a greater stake in Houston’s mobility project. I believe that the utilization of local small businesses and local contractors would answer the need for training skilled workers to help to revitalize the minority and underemployed communities.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is working to ensure that METRO continues to be an economic engine for the entire community. My work with METRO has resulted in the creation of a job training program in order for METRO contractors to be able to hire the graduates coming out of the underserved communities.