Rush Remarks at Groundbreaking for the “Englewood Flyover” Project
CONTACT: Renee Ferguson
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Today, U. S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush joined U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other elected and appointed officials and community leaders to participate in a ground breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the “Englewood Flyover” project. This $133 million construction project is funded through a $126 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s high-speed, intercity passenger rail program with a $6.6 million contribution from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! Construction program.
The project will build a bridge to separate traffic along two railroads, allowing 130 trains per day to move more quickly through one of the worst bottlenecks in North America. The investment will improve the on-time performance of passenger trains, reduce freight congestion and create nearly 1,500 jobs. Rush played a leading role in helping secure resources for this project which runs through the 1st Congressional District.
Rush said this to those who gathered this morning at the construction site, “This is a good day for the people of the 1st Congressional District, Chicago, the Midwest, and America.
“It’s a good day because this event shows what can be done when we’ve got the right leadership in Washington.
“We can create jobs.
“We can repair the rails.
“We can improve the air quality.
“We can get our economy moving again when we, the politicians, put we the people first.
“I am here to put everybody on notice that high speed rail cannot leave the residents of Englewood back at the station.
“I am here to put everybody on notice that the Englewood Flyover can’t just look over minority and women construction workers, contractors and suppliers for the work that is going to be done right here in this community.
“Let’s be clear. The people of this community who will pay the price of progress in dust, dirt and delays have got to get some of the dough!
“What we do here, today, is designed to end idling engines and idle workers. And, believe me, there are plenty of workers looking for jobs.
“In May, 10,000 potential employees came looking for jobs at my ‘Transportation Jobs Fair.’ That’s 10,000 people who showed up to give the railroads their resumes.
“When I was a much younger man than I am today, I worked as a Rail Yard Clerk. I was a teletype operator and made $15 dollars an hour.
“I didn’t just get money from that job, although money was very important. But that job helped me develop a real sense of self worth. It helped me to be independent. I got up in the morning and got to work on time and did my job with excellence because I realized my fellow workers, and my company, were depending upon me.
“It’s not just money that our young people are losing when they don’t have jobs. I’m worried that they could get into the habit of not working. I’m worried that we could lose their innovation, their energy and their productivity.
“Chicago, Englewood and America can’t afford to lose what the American worker brings to the table.
“Jobs define us. Jobs design us and jobs refine us.
“Some of the skills I learned working on the railroad are skills that are useful in the United States House of Representatives even today. I learned how to keep things moving and keep everything on track. I wish some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle in the House would do the same.
“They want to go backwards and we’re all about moving forward.
“They want to tear down and we want to build up.
“It’s a fight but anybody who knows me knows I’m not scared of a fight. The people standing here with me, today…they aren’t scared to fight! And, today…well, considering how far we’ve come, today, this is what it looks like to win!
“Today reminds us all about what it is we’re fighting for.
“So let’s put on our hard hats, shovel some dirt, lay some rail and get our country, our people and this community moving at high speed!”
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NOTE: Here's part of the TV coverage from today's event as reported on WLS-TV, CH 7, Chicago: