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Obama Pushes Infrastructure Overhaul to Create Jobs, Boost Efficiency

5 years ago
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Calling America's system of roads, rails and runways "woefully inefficient" and "outdated," President Obama met Monday with mayors and governors and proposed a multi-billion-dollar program to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure and jump-start job creation. The program, the president noted, would "be fully paid for. It will not add to our deficit over time."

Speaking to the media in the Rose Garden after his meeting, Obama reiterated many of the points first outlined in his Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, Wis. earlier this year, at which he called for the rebuilding of 150,000 miles of road, 4,000 miles of railroad tracks and 150 miles of runways.

On Sunday, senior administration officials described a plan to make an initial $50 billion investment (on top of an estimated $60 billion already allocated towards infrastructure), which would be the first step in a six-year plan to rehabilitate roads, develop high-speed rails and repair broken transit lines. Some of this funding would be used for a proposed "infrastructure bank" -- which would be administered by the government but would leverage both public and private sector dollars.

The president made the case for infrastructure investment as an engine for employment, saying that ongoing rail road and highway projects -- funded by the Recovery Act -- have "already created hundreds of thousands of jobs." As further evidence, the president pointed to the results of a report, released by the Treasury Department, which finds that 80 percent of the jobs directly created by investing in transportation infrastructure would be in the construction, manufacturing and retail trade sectors -- among those industries hardest hit by the recession. "Nearly one in five construction workers [remains] unemployed and needs a job," said the president.

Obama noted the impact of poor infrastructure on the country's economy: "The average American household is forced to spend more on transportation each year than food," he said. "Our roads, clogged with traffic, cost us $80 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted fuel. Our airports, choked with passengers, cost nearly $10 billion a year in productivity losses from flight delays."

And he compared American investment in roads, highways and rails to that of the rest of the world: "Today, as a percentage of GDP, we invest less than half of what Russia does in their infrastructure, less than one-third of what Western Europe does."

Speaking after the president's remarks, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressed confidence in the proposal, emphasizing that the traditionally broad support for infrastructure. "There are no Democratic or Republican bridges or roads," he said. Yet in recent months the subject has become increasingly partisan, with Republicans skeptical of any increased government spending as well as the overall effects of the Recovery Act on job creation.

Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced plans to end a planned New York-New Jersey tunnel, citing overwhelming cost to taxpayers. LaHood remained confident that Christie, a Republican, might reconsider, saying "I believe he will listen to a number of options."

To critics questioning the number of jobs created by the Recovery Act, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell cited the 8,600 stimulus-funded projects in his state, while Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter pointed the finger squarely at the press, saying the media simply needed to "get out there" where "real people" were being put to work.

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So what was the stimulus for??

October 12 2010 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is real nice that everyone in this country is in construction according to our almighty President. Let not mention that all of the Americans on Socila Security are not going to get an increase for the second year in a row, and don't for one minute think that the cost of medical coverage and drugs has not increased, as millions do without to stay alive. And the great healthcare bill( not really) won't take effect until 2014 leaving another 3 years before (if the bill would really work) without any relief from the ongoing health care costs. And then there is ERISA a law Congress passed, much like healthcare, with many loopholes, that currently allow insurance companies to rip off the disabled, another group on fixed incomes. This law has no rules or guidleines in regard to long term disability insuracen policies giving insurance comapnies carte blanc. Go to youtube and see the video's by disabledvictim and learn how you or a loved one can become this laws next victim!

October 12 2010 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tenderlies1, On this one I agree with you, The day gas hit $3.00 is when business started to tank. Filling one's tank has a cumulative effect on the slow draining of available cash from a budget. It also was a psychological point where people began to think things were get tight. GAS WAS MANIPULATED,but these manipulations were allowed to go on long enough to start in motion the rapid decline in the economy and the crashes that my opinion. These speculators of gas futures may have been blunted if the light of day was shone on them earlier. Is it not coincidence that when Bush announce the lifting of off offshore drilling ban the speculation and $5.00 gas stopped shortly after. And conversely when gas dropped to $1.50 a gallon and below in the height of the financial crisis, I think this help to blunt the free fall of the market because the public got a temporary psychological lift from the seemingly impending doom. Here's something that the left can do to help the economy ...for now, back off your insane objections to more exploration and development of on shore(ANWR)and any other states that want to invite exploration....If I was king for a day,I would determine it was a question of national security and suspend all bans tomorrow. We would save billions upon billions... by not buying mid east oil...some that COULD go to the democrats pet programs and some to paying down the debt directly......but I guess this make too much sense and the congress is not inclined to do anything that makes too much sense, at least as it stands right now.

October 12 2010 at 8:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Obama pushes infrastructure overhaul as voters cast ballots to throw out the tax and spend dumbocrates. Why is "print more money" their solution to everything? Calling America's system of roads, rails and runways "woefully inefficient" Obama admits that he is trying to re-define inefficientcy. He proposed a multi-billion-dollar program to completely finish bankrupting America before next months elections. The program, the president noted, would not add to our deficit over time, but would rather add to the deficit now in an attempt to get his dumbocrates in congress re-elected to spend even more trillions of dollars they had printed up in the white house basement. An initial $50 billion investment (on top of an estimated $60 billion already allocated towards infrastructure), which would be the first step in a six-year plan to bankrupt America. "Real people" will be "getting out there" and voting them out of office November 2nd.

October 12 2010 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been involved in many of these Post and all have a different idea of where all this started. Does anyone remember the FUEL CRISIS? Does anyone know what it actually hit the hardest? All freight or at least the bulk of it moves by Diesel, diesel is a by-product of refining Gasoline, it is the waste product of that. The price of diesel went way beyond the price of out top grade gas. Heating oil followed by Natural Gas as well as propane up as well. People got scared, groceries out the roof , item's thet were used every day up. People quit spending they quit traveling, they stopped trading cars and buying new furniture and we quit eating out or taking vacation's Today diesel is still higher than the top grade of gas. This was never adressed by Goverment and Big Oil was making astronomical Profits while many here were struggling to keep fuel to get to work everyday eventually business's were closing, many small ones closed. Look around they still are and we are still hanging tight because we are scared of the economy.

October 11 2010 at 11:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tenderlies1's comment

You need an expert to call the cost and profits are the oil companies. 1. we haven't built new refineries in the USA for years - which means he have to have particular grades of oil to work with. 2. Most of the oil is from the Mid EAst and other areas - Obama's wonderful MORATORIUM on oil exploration and production against the advise of two (2) of his own blue ribbon committees recommendations has killed a half million jobs in the south and sent the petroleum industry packing to work in other more inviting countries. Obama should have put 4 new drilling rigs on top of the BP site to get that oil (with our own better companies) and get the old USA OFF MIDEAST OIL!!!

October 11 2010 at 11:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Yes I understand that jm2200a: But at the time this happened I am sure they added to the cost but they would have also added more to the waste product or something for big oil to have made such astronomical Profits. We have had the same refineries I know so there was no cost for building any new ones. Opec was running around the amount with some fluxation. But Thank You for the reply

October 12 2010 at 12:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Clearly spending is a big issue here. Unlike the first stimulus where money was paid to businesses, this one will directly create jobs. With more jobs, more money will be spent in businesses. The businesses will then use the profit and the stimulis money to mmake more jobs

October 11 2010 at 11:38 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Here's a picture for us. We buy "cheap" Chinese goods at Wal-Mart. The Chinese loan this money to Obama. Obama spends it. Now our children/grandchildren get to pay it back, plus interest, to the Chinese. So those Chinese goods are not very cheap, are they? Figure they are actually costing us twice the listed cost, plus interest, plus the lost jobs. Buying these foreign goods is facilitating our own financial destruction, aided by our clueless representatives in Washington.

October 11 2010 at 11:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sammy1sez's comment

Let's start with who borrow money from China as well as Saudi Arabia in the first place. That's right, George Bush. Obama does not want to be beholden to China any more than he does to Saudia Arabia. He wants to break the strangle hold both those countries have on the USA. If the party of tax and spend headed by John "NO" Boehner would stop trying to sabotage every decent move our President makes, we could break the yoke Boehner is trying to keep around our necks.

October 11 2010 at 11:56 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

crumbling infrastructure. Where is the tax is money that is collected that is already supposed to go towards this. How many more toll booths are going to be put up. The issue is why do we need a bill to do this? The reason is because of the way that the money already LOANED to the gov't is being spent.

October 11 2010 at 11:07 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

Obama is wrong in his approach. The first stimulus, passed because we supposedly had $800 billion in shovel ready jobs that needed to be done, has not yet been totally spent. How many longterm jobs were created. Now Obama wants another stimulus for infrastructure, but wasn't that what the first stimulus was for? The current power in DC tells us that small businesses and corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars, and not using the money for expansion and job creation. On the other hand, they want a $30 billion bill passed to give to small business owners so they will start hiring. How can there be trillions being hoarded, but the taxpayers still need to increase our indebtedness and give another $30 billion to businesses? There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to what is occurring in DC, we seem to be going nowhere even though we are now trillions in debt, and chaos seems to be the ruler. Did Obama supporters not listen to what Obama was saying on the campaign trail? He told you what he was going to do, you see what you got for your money. Is this REALLY what you want for our Country?

October 11 2010 at 10:36 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

The first thing we need to do is STOP spending billions in the middle eastern countries and other countries around the world then the funds we need to improve and expand our outdated rail system,corrording highways and bridges and other infrastructures around our country would be available. It certainly didn't take us long to put millions of aide into Hatti while there are still Katrina victums waiting for assitance from our government 5 years later???? Who made us keepers of this world,other big countries don't do what we do.

October 11 2010 at 10:35 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jocahollis's comment

No, it would NOT free up funds for other things. You just don't get it. There are NO funds. We are borrowing it all. If the wars ended tomorrow (an impossibility) it would just be less borrowed. The gov spent billions upon billions on Katrina. The amt. we spent on Haiti was literally a drop in a bucket - no comparison. And why should the fed. gov. do more than they have for Katrina folks? I live at the beach. I pay a good premium for insurance. If a crisis happened, I would NOT ask my country what it can do for me. I would only ask for emergency rescue INITIALLY, if needed. My hard working fellow Americans are NOT responsible to re-build my home - that's between me & my insurer.

October 11 2010 at 10:46 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Frankly if you look at New Orleans and the gulf coast (and I am from the region), and you add up what it should have costs they said they gave, there are missing billions - just waste to get big Fed involved with anything except defense. If they spent as much money as they say they have, you would see a new house for the 100,000 houses lost (lets see 100K x 100K = 10B = 10,000,000,000) I think they've done about 30,000 houses since Katrina. I agree w/another that states that I have lived on the coast. If you don't have insurance, your are sunk if a big hurricane hits. And I wouldn't expect big Fed to bail me out. What a worthless country we have become filled with a bunch of people with their hands out in this entitlement rich population. I would rather have the founding fathers back even if some call them "elite" as it would be better to have elitists than to have entitlists in our population and government.

October 11 2010 at 11:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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