Entries in Infrastructure (3)


Obama Travels to Symbolic Ohio Bridge to Push Jobs Bill

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- Any doubt of a political motive behind President Obama's "official" jobs bill tour may be put to rest Thursday as he rallies supporters at a politically symbolic landmark in a pivotal 2012 election state.

The president will travel to Cincinnati Thursday afternoon to promote more government infrastructure spending as part of the American Jobs Act -- a plan that has become the centerpiece of his reelection campaign -- with a speech at the dilapidated Brent Spence Bridge.

The president's second visit to Ohio in as many weeks underscores the state's significance to his bid for another term and the challenges aides see in keeping it blue.  Ohio went for Obama by five percentage points in 2008, but polls show enthusiasm for the president there has waned.

The bridge, which will be a backdrop for the speech, is also significant, not only as an example of a need for infrastructure funds but because it links Ohio, home state of House Speaker John Boehner, with Kentucky, the home state of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  Both Republican leaders and their colleagues oppose Obama's plan.

"You think these things happen by accident?" Boehner said when asked about the selection of the bridge for Obama's event.

McConnell said he finds it hard to take Obama's message seriously given lackluster support from Democrats for Obama's plan.

"We'd be more inclined to look at this so-called jobs bill once the president's own staff and the members of his own party in Congress start taking it a little more seriously themselves," he said.

Administration officials insist if there's any symbolism intended by the optics of the event it's that a pending $2.4 billion project to replace the Brent Spence Bridge has bipartisan support in the state, and would put thousands of construction workers back on the job.  They say Obama's plan would give it a much-needed infusion of cash to move forward.

"If Congress passes the American Jobs Act, we can put more Americans back to work while getting repairs like this one done," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters last week.

"It's not a coincidence in that it's a bridge that is one we can get to and highlight from the White House on a day trip that absolutely illustrates the problem we have with the infrastructure in this country," he said.

The bridge is crossed by more than 170,000 vehicles a day – twice what the volume it was designed for – and funnels roughly 4 percent of the nation's GDP each year through truck traffic, according to government estimates.  It has been deemed "structurally deficient" by the Federal Highway Administration.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Take Infrastructure Jobs Pitch to Cincinnati

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will bring his jobs pitch to Cincinnati Sept. 22 to deliver remarks at the crumbling Brent Spence Bridge and highlight the need to invest in infrastructure and pass the American Jobs Act.

The bridge, which opened in 1963, is one the busiest trucking routes in the country but has been deemed “functionally obsolete.”  It also just so happens to link House Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio to Kentucky, the home of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

The president highlighted the bridge in his address to Congress last week, touting it as a project that could help put unemployed construction workers back on the job.  However, there are currently no approved plans to repair or replace the Brent Spence bridge so it is unlikely that immediate federal money would be used to fix the decaying bridge.  Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2014.

“If Congress passes the American Jobs Act, we can put more Americans back to work while getting repairs like this one done,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday, while insisting that the location of the president’s event was not at all political.

Carney did concede, however, that the decision to highlight this bridge was not a coincidence.

“It’s not a coincidence in that it’s a bridge that is one we can get to and highlight from the White House on a day trip that absolutely illustrates the problem we have with the infrastructure in this country -- roads, bridges, and other forms of infrastructure,” he said.

This will be Obama’s second visit to Ohio to tout his jobs plan and his fourth stop outside of Washington.  So far Obama’s campaign to sell the American Jobs Act has brought him only to critical swing states.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Pushes for Overhaul of 'Woefully Inefficient' Infrastructure

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Bringing together governors, mayors, and former transportation secretaries, President Obama said Monday that the country’s “short-sightedness has come due” on transportation infrastructure.

“It should not take another collapsing bridge or failing levee to shock us into action.  So we're already paying for our failure to act,” the president said from the Rose Garden Monday morning. "We can no longer afford to sit still.  What we need is a smart system of infrastructure equal to the needs of the 21st century.”

The president pushed for his $50 billion, six-year proposal on modernizing and rebuilding America’s roads, railways, and runways, originally proposed on Labor Day.  On Monday morning, the president convened a meeting with state and local officials and Cabinet officials to drum up support for the plan. 

“Investing in our infrastructure is something that members of both political parties have always supported.  It's something that groups ranging from the Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO support today.  And by making these investments across the country, we won't just make our economy run better over the long haul; we will create good, middle-class jobs right now.”

Joining the president on stage Monday was Sam Skinner, who served under President George H.W. Bush, and Norman Mineta, who served in the cabinets of both President Clinton and President W. Bush.  Both men have been leading a bipartisan group of more than 80 experts who last week released a call to action demanding an overhaul of how America approaches funding and building infrastructure.  The administration has matched that report with one of their own from the Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers.

“The reports confirm what any American can already tell you:  Our infrastructure is woefully inefficient and it is outdated,” the president said. “There’s no reason why we can't do this.  There's no reason why the world's best infrastructure should lie beyond our borders.  This is America.  We've always had the best infrastructure.  This is -- this is work that needs to be done.  There are workers who are ready to do it.  All we need is the political will.  And this is the season for choices, and this is the choice.”

Following the president’s meeting and remarks, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell touted that the $50 billion investment is the “single-best job creator we can do in this country.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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