The following is the latest entry from Ray LaHood on Fast Lane, the official blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation:
"Last June I wrote about the Export-Import Bank re-authorization passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama. By providing financing for thousands of businesses trying to sell more American products overseas, this legislation supports the President‘s goal of doubling U.S. exports, insourcing jobs to American shores, and ensuring that we make the products that the rest of the world buys.
Gamesa, a Spanish clean-energy company whose North American headquarters is in Pennsylvania, is a great example of how the re-authorization can create jobs in the U.S. Using a $152 million Ex-Im bank loan, Gamesa manufactures wind turbine blades here in the United States, assembles the finished turbines here as well, then exports these complex assemblies to Uruguay and Mexico. Production here supports 510 American jobs.
The turbines will be shipped by Intermarine’s Ocean Freedom, a specialized U.S.-Flag heavy lift vessel operating between the Ports of Philadelphia and Houston. These shipments support 36 steady jobs for skilled American mariners.
Seventy-five percent of American exports travel through U.S. seaports. These facilities are key to our ability to transport American products overseas, and their collective modernization is a crucial part of the President’s export initiative.
To date, four rounds of TIGER Grants along with seven Marine Highway Grants have invested more than $357 million in 25 port and inland waterway projects across the country.
But more work must be done. The American Society of Civil Engineers reports that aging infrastructure and ports cost businesses $33 billion in 2010, with a projected cost of $49 billion by 2020.
Every business depends on safe, economical transportation, and that includes the businesses shipping cargo worth more than $5.5 billion through U.S. ports every day. That activity supports 13.3 million jobs and accounts for $3.15 trillion in business activity for our economy.
Trade is essential to our economic security and way of life. That’s why DOT is taking steps to support the maritime industry that powers American trade. Through loans to exporting companies that create American jobs and port infrastructure upgrades, we’re building on the progress we made during President Obama’s first term as we reignite America’s economic engine going forward.
The bottom line? Like America's businesses, the Obama Administration understands that 21st Century trade requires 21st Century infrastructure."
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