Obama reveals $50 billion infrastructure proposal
“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.”
Ruane says that the passage of robust, multi-year transportation bills is essential to ensure predictability and continuity in the domestic transportation design and construction industry, and to help achieve national environmental, goods movement and safety goals.
“Accordingly, the $50 billion investment proposed by President Obama must be part of a long-term reauthorization bill and not a stand-alone measure,” Ruane says in a prepared statement. “Infrastructure investment is a proven cost effective public policy that provides recurring benefits for decades to come.”
Jim Oberstar, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman (D-Minn.), is supportive of Obama’s proposal , has also voiced a willingness to work with the president. “The principles outlined by the President are consistent with those put forward by the Committee in the Blueprint for Investment and Reform and the Surface Transportation Authorization Act,” Mica says, according NSSGA’s Washington Watch Special Legislative Update.
However, U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican leader, vehemently opposed the President’s latest infrastructure spending proposal.
Following Obama’s announcement, Mica issued a statement saying that he would not support “another tax and spend proposal while billions of transportation and infrastructure funds sit idle.”
Mica says that instead of proposing a plan to more quickly invest the billions of dollars in infrastructure projects already approved in what he calls “the first failed stimulus, we get another Obama tax and spend program.
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