Obama reveals $50 billion infrastructure proposal
In a “Labor Fest” speech in Milwaukee, President Barack Obama revealed plans to spend at least $50 billion throughout the next six years to rebuild 150,000 miles of roads, lay and maintain 4,000 miles of railways, and to restore 150 miles of runways in an effort to give the economy another jumpstart and to move the nation forward.
“I am announcing a new plan for rebuilding and modernizing America’s roads and rails and runways for the long term,” Obama said in his Sept. 6 Labor Day address. “I want America to have the best infrastructure in the world. We used to have the best infrastructure in the world. We can have it again. We are going to make it happen.” (For the text of President Obama’s Sept. 6 speech, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/06/remarks-president-laborfest-milwaukee-wisconsin.)
Obama acknowledged the hard-hit construction sector, pointing out in his remarks that nearly one in five construction workers are unemployed and the fledgling economy has been extremely hard for the
“I know these are difficult times,” he said in his remarks. “When times are tough, I know it can be easy to give in to cynicism…But I just want everybody here to remember, that’s not who we are. That’s not the country I know. We do not give up. We do not quit. We face down war. We face down depression. We face down great challenges and great threats. We have lit the way for the rest of the world.
Obama says that the $50 billion infrastructure proposal will provide “long-overdue investments in upgrading our outdated, our inefficient national infrastructure.”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 required “to compete in a 21st century economy. We’re talking investments in tomorrow that are creating hundreds of thousands of private sector jobs right now.”
The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) says it’s “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.
MORE FROM Aggbeat Online
SUBSCRIBE & FOLLOW
- Former gravel quarry-turned-landfill transforms into nature reserve519 Views
- North Carolina grants Martin Marietta water quality certification for limestone quarry256 Views
- Vulcan-blocking bill dies in Alabama legislature250 Views
- Road restrictions may stop quarry construction in Kentucky213 Views
- Two suspects charged with arson in Jack’s Mountain Quarry case in Virginia127 Views