It’s official. President Obama signed MAP-21 into law Friday evening. Watch a video from the White House of the signing ceremony, view the White House transcript for his complete remarks, or see below for our excerpt of the President’s comments on the transportation section.
“Welcome to the White House. We wouldn’t normally keep you this late on a Friday afternoon unless we had a good reason — and the bill that I’m about to sign is a pretty good reason.
I want to very much thank the members of Congress who are here. We got a number in the front row, but, in particular, I want to recognize Senator Boxer and Congressman Mica, whose leadership made this bill a reality. And although Barbara couldn’t make it, we want to make sure that everybody acknowledges the hard work that John did on this on bill. . . .
First of all, this bill will keep thousands of construction workers on the job rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. Second, this bill will keep interest rates on federal student loans from doubling this year — which would have hit nearly 7.5 million students with an average of a thousand dollars more on their loan payments. These steps will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans — some of whom are standing with us here today. But make no mistake — we’ve got a lot more to do. The construction industry, for example, was hit brutally hard when the housing bubble burst. So it’s not enough just to keep construction workers on the job doing projects that were already underway. We’ve got Mayor Villaraigosa and Governor O’Malley here as representatives of organizations of mayors and governors who know how desperate we need to do some of this work.
And for months, I’ve been calling on Congress to take half the money we’re no longer spending on war and use it to do some nation-building here at home. There’s work to be done building roads and bridges and wireless networks. There are hundreds of thousands of construction workers that are ready to do it. . . .
I want to thank all the Americans — the young or the young at heart — who took the time to sit down and write a letter or type out an email or make a phone call or send a tweet, hoping that your voice would be heard on these issues. I promise you, your voices have been heard. Any of you who believed your voice could make a difference — I want to reaffirm your belief. You made this happen.
So I’m very pleased that Congress got this done. I’m grateful to members of both parties who came together and put the interests of the American people first. And my message to Congress is what I’ve been saying for months now — let’s keep going. Let’s keep moving forward. Let’s keep finding ways to work together to grow the economy and to help put more folks back to work. There is no excuse for inaction when there are so many Americans still trying to get back on their feet.”