WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama declared May 18 as National Defense Transportation Day, a tradition that began in 1957 to celebrate U.S. infrastructure.
"From the railroads that connected our continent in the 19th century to the highways that drove progress during the 20th, American infrastructure has fueled our nation's growth for generations," Obama said Monday in a proclamation.
he week preceding National Defense Transportation Day was declared National Transportation Week.
"On National Defense Transportation Day and during National Transportation Week, we celebrate that rich legacy and recommit to building robust infrastructure that will accelerate our economy in the years ahead," Obama said.
In his statement, Obama said his administration has prioritized "long-term investments in transportation infrastructure that will keep America safe and ensure we can compete and succeed in the global economy."
"Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program, all 50 states have launched new highway and infrastructure projects, and many have funded passenger rail development that will modernize our cities and help put more construction workers back on the job," he said.
National Defense Transportation Day was approved by Congress May 16, 1957, and is held on the third Friday of May each year. By joint resolution approved May 14, 1962, Congress established that the week during which that Friday falls to be National Transportation Week.
"I call upon all Americans to recognize the importance of our nation's transportation infrastructure and to acknowledge the contributions of those who build, operate, and maintain it," Obama said.