Obama says that the $50 billion infrastructure proposal will provide “long-overdue investments in upgrading our outdated, our inefficient national infrastructure.” He says this includes everything from roads, bridges, dams, and levees to a smart electric grid, broadband Internet, and high-speed rail lines.
In a Sept. 8 address in Parma, Ohio, Obama said that his “most urgent task was to stop a financial meltdown and prevent this recession from becoming a second depression.
“Now, there are still thousands of miles of roads, railways, and runways left to repair and improve,” Obama said in the address. “And engineers, economists, governors, and mayors of every political stripe believe that if we want to compete, we need to rebuild this vital infrastructure… So this week, I’ve proposed a six-year infrastructure plan that would start putting Americans to work right away.”
The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) says it is “pleased that the president is acknowledging the important role that both infrastructure plays in the American economy and both the short- and long-term benefits that additional investment would provide.” The organization notes that it plans to consult with its members and coalition allies to advise on messages “to secure more investment in highway infrastructure while helping spur bipartisan passage of a multi-year bill.”
However, NSSGA points out that it’s not clear whether this infrastructure proposal is a preview of a six-year reauthorization of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) highway program that expired Sept. 30 last year and has been through a series of extensions that expire Dec. 31, 2010, or whether it’s “a separate one-shot measure intended to boost highway funding levels.”
Dennis Slater, president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), applauded Obama “for recognizing the vital importance of infrastructure investment to the long-term strength and competitiveness of our country,” but he says the nation really needs — “and what voters want” — is the Administration and Congress to work in partnership right to pass a transportation reauthorization bill.
“While the President’s plan for an Infrastructure Bank and increased capacity in our infrastructure system is an important step, Congress has the opportunity to act now on transportation reauthorization that will result in immediate job creation,” Slater says in a written statement. “We need a strategic vision for modernizing our country’s infrastructure, and leaders with the courage to make it happen. We need Congress to pass a transportation bill, and they need to come together on a robust, multi-faceted, and sustainable way to pay for it, including consideration of a user fee increase. Maybe this is not the most popular policy stance in an election year, but there is no such thing as a safe road built by American workers for free.”
American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Pete Ruane also commended Obama for the focus on infrastructure investment, saying that Obama has “correctly noted that infrastructure investment creates jobs, improves our global competitiveness, and fuels economic growth.
MORE FROM AggBeat
SUBSCRIBE & FOLLOW
- Product of the Week: Cat 988K loader511 Views
- NSSGA names Michael W. Johnson as president, CEO212 Views
- Supreme Court rules in favor of Vulcan mining project in Virginia179 Views
- Rock quarry owner proposes expansion in Sitka, Alaska115 Views
- Brant City Council approves water report for Dufferin gravel pit111 Views