Obama pitches plan to fix crumbling U.S. roads, bridges

Comments (42)
TomMariner wrote:

I like my President to have big ideas and dreams — we’re a big country. But there should be some time left over from the big trips to give big speeches about the next big federal project to do the job of President — Administer laws passed by Congress.

Feb 26, 2014 6:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
hed1117 wrote:

It has seemed obvious since the beginning of the recession that America needs a program to match large numbers of the unemployed with coast to coast infrastructure maintenance and rebuilding which is desperately needed.
Just like the WPA (Works Progress Administration) that the government oversaw in the 1930′s which provided employment for millions – from artists to craftsmen and laborers – and largely built the modern infrastructure of the country.

Feb 26, 2014 6:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
Vingtsun wrote:

that is what the $800 BILLION dollar stimulus was intended for – not for political payback and crony capitalism.
Thanks God he is gutting the military, to include their lavish benefits, to pay for his follies.
Who would ever have thought that someone would make Jimmy Carter look like a genius???

Feb 26, 2014 7:05am EST  --  Report as abuse
Vingtsun wrote:

that is what the $800 BILLION dollar stimulus was intended for – not for political payback and crony capitalism.
Thanks God he is gutting the military, to include their lavish benefits, to pay for his follies.
Who would ever have thought that someone would make Jimmy Carter look like a genius???

Feb 26, 2014 7:05am EST  --  Report as abuse
FRPSR wrote:

The Administration is faced with a Congress that has unaccountably voted on mainly one oddly recurring bill . Like its artistic counterpart , “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray , the vote always seems to return to overturning the ACA , commonly referred to as Obama Care .
If only congress could focus on using American ingenuity to improve life for the better of all Americans …
Instead the idling on commences with great ceremony about the infinite details consuming the airless doctrinaire fiddling over whether the Princess might sleep if only more mattresses could be placed over the Pea .
That it may be argued this improves the featherd nests of our greatest champions , of the greatest collection of the speakers , of greatest knowledge ever concentrated , that assists no one aside for the comfort of the wheel spinning artists who comfort no none , is painfully crying to be pointed out .

Feb 26, 2014 7:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
tatman wrote:

improving infrastructure is an absolute MUST for america, and will create hundreds of thousands of LONG TERM jobs, if these policies are enacted nationwide (unlike the keystone pipeline, which would create only a few thousand temporary jobs, ironically so obsessively pushed by conservatives). we truly need to see our national highways, roads and bridges receive the attention they badly need. this will not only create jobs, but will improve public safety and save lives.

BRAVO, MR. PRESIDENT!

Feb 26, 2014 7:48am EST  --  Report as abuse

The difference between this plan and the Keystone pipeline: the Keystone pipeline is a result of A PRODUCT BEING PRODUCED AND SOLD, not more “tax and spend” programs.

Feb 26, 2014 8:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
COindependent wrote:

Remember shovel-ready? Five years and $800 billion later, and our infrastructure is not any better. Instead, the POTUS picked his winners in alternative energy, studies about the sex lives of butterflies, etc. while those in Congress built new post office building to name after themselves. These and other programs added zero value.

Now he wants another $300 billion, that will most likely go to Illinois, California, New York and other union oriented states that supported his re-election.

These guys in Washington are devious and corrupt. The swamp in Washington needs be drained of every politician and their professional staffs. Only then will the work of America get done.

Interesting how the POTUS wants $300 billion of taxpayer funds to build infrastructure (so he can influence where the funds go?), but refuses to approve the Keystone pipeline, funded exclusively by private funds. And you can be sure his AFL-CIO buddies will benefit as well. So one type of infrastructure work creates better long term, high pay, jobs verses another…..? For him, it does.

Feb 26, 2014 8:52am EST  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:

Deja Vu, didn’t we hear something very similar a few years ago? As a matter of fact, that idea cost in the neighborhood of 800 billion(more than 10,000 for a family of four) and got us exactly where obama wanted – NOWHERE! Sounds great, but obama has no hope of pulling this off, he simply doesn’t have the competence to do so.

Feb 26, 2014 8:53am EST  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:

Deja Vu, didn’t we hear something very similar a few years ago? As a matter of fact, that idea cost in the neighborhood of 800 billion(more than 10,000 for a family of four) and got us exactly where obama wanted – NOWHERE! Sounds great, but obama has no hope of pulling this off, he simply doesn’t have the competence to do so.

Feb 26, 2014 8:53am EST  --  Report as abuse
Jim_Dandy wrote:

This was part of his $800 Billion program back in 2009. So Mr. President what really happened to that money, my taxes?

Feb 26, 2014 8:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
unionwv wrote:

This is a program which can serve all the people – so unlike most of the divisive social engineering Obama has pushed.

Feb 26, 2014 8:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
FRPSR wrote:

There is over one semi permanent job ambiguously slated to be connected to the Keystone pipeline . Not a very good use of American muscle , minds , and property for the profits generated for a dirty oil that will never be burned in America , or become part of our economy . It is a transporting boondoggle for the profits for the owners , shareholders , only . Proud Americans may witness a transportation tax income of a small percentage of the gross though , whoopee .

Feb 26, 2014 9:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
tatman wrote:

@cloward: produced and sold to ASIA, at the expense of american soil and astronomical risk to our environment. all for temporary american jobs, and billions in profits to energy companies. not a fair tradeoff.

should this pipeline rupture, the cost to the american taxpayer for cleanup would be astronomical, not to mention the damage done to our environment. have we learned nothing from BP’s gulf disaster, and the irresponsible conduct of BP and the legal scuttling to get cleanup payouts limited and thwarted, pushing more of the cost onto the backs of americans?

infrastructure is not “tax and spend”. we have crumbling infrastructure throughout america that has been neglected for a generation — let’s hope you are not one of those stuck on a collapsing bridge that has not seen repairs for decades. i, personally, believe in building up the treasure of our nation, and part of that treasure is the infrastructure that allows safe and reliable e-commerce, travel, commuting and access for all americans and international visitors.

the condition of a country’s infrastructure is a sign of the nation’s overall health and well-being.

Feb 26, 2014 9:09am EST  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:

Congress must open up infrastructure projects to enable USA economics. Reduce/eliminate shipping low grade oil pollution with a North/Central/South America Rail infrastructure to include a Trans-Bearing Strait route. Make Truck/rail/freeway portals at interstate intersections, reducing fuel consumption by promoting local electric transport. Promoting Maglev transit as a spinoff of Space Access Maglev launch capacity. Build national level canals for water distribution relieving severe by excessive fresh water run off in cases of severe rainfall. We might then improve CO2 sequester by irrigating our mid plane deserts. One path through the Rockies could be coupled with a SF to Denver Maglev 2G space ramp, using a common power generation infrastructure.
We should build on a strategic infrastructure designed to make USA a Global transportation hub, linking Americas (North Central and South) to the old world.
morbas(i)

Feb 26, 2014 9:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:

Look at North America less than 100ma-ago with no polar Ice. USA was two land masses Appalachia in the East and Laramidia in the West, separated by the Western Interior Seaway. For the life of me I do not understand why we are widening the Panama Canal to increase shipping.
Naval Cargo ships have little (to none) emission regulations. “In one year, a single large container ship can emit cancer and asthma-causing pollutants equivalent to that of 50 million cars. The low grade bunker fuel used by the worlds 90,000 cargo ships contains up to 2,000 times the amount of sulfur compared to diesel fuel used in automobiles.” The Guardian April 23,2009. Waste Oil is used to power the worlds 90,000 vessels.

Feb 26, 2014 9:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
Crash866 wrote:

Shovel ready…again…you voted…for this…twice…

Feb 26, 2014 9:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
sabrefencer wrote:

just as long as we don’t again, build bridges to nowhere..just as long as the money, is spread to blue states as much as to red states, just as long as you are a president of ALL the people..ohh heck, not so..shame..just another Obama , political move as usual…

Feb 26, 2014 9:27am EST  --  Report as abuse
moonhill wrote:

Obama will probably only give contracts to union labor, who pour their union dues into Democrat campaign coffers. This is just another way to use taxpayer money to fund Democrat politicians.

Feb 26, 2014 9:54am EST  --  Report as abuse
SaveRMiddle wrote:

Maybe this leader can quit telling us what we wish to hear for votes and show us…..as in…..make it happen. End the occupation and rebuilding in Afghanistan this year not because we’re kicked out but because it’s time to rebuild this neglected country.

We’ve been waiting 5 years.

Feb 26, 2014 10:13am EST  --  Report as abuse
JohnQAdams wrote:

More Shovel Ready after how many years; 4-5? Such a liar.

Feb 26, 2014 10:53am EST  --  Report as abuse
carlmartel wrote:

We were told that we would build “shovel ready” infrastructure five years ago with $800 billion. Now, in a Congressional election year, we are being told that we will build infrastructure with $300 billion. I know that we need the transportation infrastructure because we have a mechanized economy that must move raw materials, finished products, workers, customers, and tourists to factories, stores, and vacation resorts. Is the president planning to build or repair something, or is he trying to buy votes in an election year?

Feb 26, 2014 11:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
Tuscar wrote:

You cannot call the $800 billion 2009 stimulus an infrastructure bill, when less than 5% of the funds went to infrastructure.

Most of the 800 billion went to state bailouts and tax incentives.

Our roads, bridges, railways, etc are in dire need of improvement, and are woefully out of date. Since all commerce in the U.S. would halt without infrastructure, investment in infrastructure should be one of the highest priorities, regardless of who proposes it.

Feb 26, 2014 11:06am EST  --  Report as abuse

I 2nd what Tuscar said, for those of you saying this is what the ARRA was for , or ‘Stimulus’, infrastructure spending was one of the smaller components of the ARRA. AS Tuscar said, rightly, most of the money went to state bailouts and tax incentives.

Here is a pretty good breakdown of the ARRA, http://useconomy.about.com/od/usfederalbudget/a/Economomic_Stimulus_Package_in_Detail.htm. AS you can see only about 84 Billion or less then 10% of total package, was spent on infrastructure.

You would think the right would be all for infrastructure improvements, after all the people they fight for, the top 5%, will benefit the most economically from a country built upon strong infrastructure.

But no, Obama proposed it so it has to be bad right?

@CoIndependent, to quote you ‘Remember shovel-ready? Five years and $800 billion later, and our infrastructure is not any better. Instead, the POTUS picked his winners in alternative energy, studies about the sex lives of butterflies, etc. while those in Congress built new post office building to name after themselves. These and other programs added zero value.’

Refer to my link above as you can see only $22billion of the ARRA was devoted to alternative energy production, less than 3% of the overall bill. Plus it can be argued, very easily, that this investment more then paid off. In fact we should have a ‘Manhattan Project’ style national program for the next clean energy source, be it fusion or super efficient solar panels, but no we spend a pittance on our future.

@sabrefencer, the ‘bridge to nowhere’ was pork brought to you by the late Senator Ted Stevens, guess what he was a member of the GOP.

@jimdandy to quote you ‘This was part of his $800 Billion program back in 2009. So Mr. President what really happened to that money, my taxes?’ as you can see from above infrastructure was a small portion of the ARRA. But I can tell you a few things it went to, in my small town area one interstate interchange was upgraded a long with entrance to a bridge crossing the river. And some smaller things in my town specifically, like painting new crosswalks and some main street beautification/landscaping. And my area is a stronghold of the GOP, so there goes that argument that money only goes to areas that support Obama.

Feb 26, 2014 11:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

Is he running out of ideas and just doing what he promised in 2009? I heard these speeches before. Shovel ready jobs…

Feb 26, 2014 12:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse

clowardandpiven wrote:
“The difference between this plan and the Keystone pipeline: the Keystone pipeline is a result of A PRODUCT BEING PRODUCED AND SOLD, not more “tax and spend” programs.”

How is the Keystone pipeline remotely relevant to the article, or even to your own comment? Just because the oil passes through the US from Canada on its way to the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t mean that the oil or the economic benefits are ever at any point “ours” – we’re not producing it and we’re not selling it. Heck, the pipeline would only create 35 permanent jobs. Compared to the spending on maintenance and clean up? Not even remotely worth it.

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/feb/10/van-jones/cnns-van-jones-says-keystone-pipeline-only-creates/

Meanwhile, highway spending would create or support an estimated ~27,000 jobs per billion dollars spent. And not only would it create jobs, something that republicans claim to care about, but each dollar of federal highway grants received by a state raises that state’s annual economic output by at least two dollars. That’s a HUGE gain.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/10/infrastructure.jobs/

http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2012/november/highway-grants/

So in short, infrastructure improvements that have been neglected for a generation are desperately needed AND it would have enormous economic benefits. The only thing that remains to be seen is, will congress sabotage the economy once again for political gain?

Feb 26, 2014 12:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Kahnie wrote:

This is yet another situation (Billions in 2009 with no result, billions in 2014 which won’t be passed) that indicates the United States is going the way of Rome, circa 4th-5th Century A.D. Internal collapse, infrastructure a mess, no leadership and fighting rather than governing on the part of the Legislature. We are beginning to roll down the hill of collapse on all fronts. If a turn isn’t made, we will be a second rate behemoth like India.

Feb 26, 2014 1:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse

@TheNEwWorld, as I and others have pointed out the ARRA enacted in 2009 had a very small infrastructure component, and many of the jobs where ‘shovel-ready’. But it was not a bill/law that focused on infrastructure, in fact most of its focus was on temporary tax relief.

Feb 26, 2014 1:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse

USAPragmatist2, please stop injecting facts, numbers and history into this discussion! This has been such a potent attack for the right, so easy to (mis)understand and compress into 3 second sound bites – it was perfect! But the more informed people are, the less effective the attacks become… so quit it! Because lord only knows, the LAST thing we want to do is start dealing with reality!

Feb 26, 2014 1:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@USAPragmatist2

I know this. But when he campaigned for the spending bill he focused heavily on the infrastructure. When the bill gets passed, it doesn’t fund what he said it would fund. In other words he misled America on what he was going to spend the money on. Much like he is today. You are not doing yourself any favors bringing these facts up.

Feb 26, 2014 1:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse

@TheNEwWorld, there was no misleading, anyone could have looked up bill and seen what % infrastructure spending was. At the time Obama was also very adamant about the other things the ARRA did(help for States, tax breaks, extended unemployment benefits, etc.), just because you want to focus on one aspect of it is not his fault.

Feb 26, 2014 2:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:

TheNewWorld – so correct, the overwhelming majority of obama’s speech and media coverage was laser focused on all the shovel ready projects the funds were to cover. Though the written record may show differently, obama touted his plan as primarily a job creation plan, which it clearly was not. Misleading is an understatement, deceit is more accurate. But of course, no one of any thinking capacity believed for a second obaam was going to use a pile of money for the good of the country, instead knowing it was going to pay for support.

Feb 26, 2014 2:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse

TheNewWorld wrote:
“But when he campaigned for the spending bill he focused heavily on the infrastructure. When the bill gets passed, it doesn’t fund what he said it would fund.”

I’m really starting to wonder about you… The reason the bill does not contain exactly what the president wanted to is because of that thing called “separation of powers”, which still exists in spite of republicans claiming that Obama “destroyed it”. I thought you were smart enough to know this.

You see, bills are written and passed by the legislative body (congress), and are merely approved or vetoed by the executive body (the president). Presidents have little influence over the specifics of the bills they are presented. Sometimes presidents have to approve bills that aren’t 100% to their liking, for the greater good. There’s an episode of School House Rock that might help you understand this better.

So to cut through all the BS, is your complaint that the executive body did not exert enough control over the legislative body and force them to do exactly what he said? Because I’d imagine there would be some complaints about that, too – you know, the whole “kind/dictator” stuff the right loves to cry about…

Feb 26, 2014 2:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DesertDingo wrote:

Wasn’t that what the TRILLION dollar stimulus was for? You know…”shovel ready” jobs?

Feb 26, 2014 3:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse

@gcf1965 to quote you ‘ Though the written record may show differently, obama touted his plan as primarily a job creation plan,’

1. If the written record shows different, then your opinion that ‘obama touted his plan as primarily a job creation plan’ is wrong. So pretty much you are contradicting yourself.

2. Infrastructure is not the only way to create jobs, the extension of unemployment benefits, much of the temp. tax relief in the ARRA, the ‘state bailouts’, many small business tax reductions all help create jobs. So there are many other parts of the ARRA that were designed to create jobs beside the small amount of infrastructure improvements and the ARRA did a good job at it, on the tune of about 1.6 million a year for the last 4 years.

Feb 26, 2014 3:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DaliLlama wrote:

What an incompetent he is. Yes we did spend that 800 billion to fix the infrastructure! Everything has been fixed! Shovel ready… A billion here, a billion there, who is counting…. This is the shovel ready presidency.

Feb 26, 2014 3:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse

It’s about damned time that SOMEONE decided to do something about this country’s crumbling infrastructure. We’re competing against countries like China, who design cities and transportation systems expressly to move goods more quickly.

Republicans will never allow it, though, they want the country in shambles so they can try to blame it all on democrats. Meanwhile, the whole country goes downhill, stuck in partisan blockades in Congress.

Democrats built our infrastructure in the first place. They did it on borrowed money, too. I guess the old adage that you have to spend money to make money is lost on republicans.

After their incompetence in repealing Glass-Steagall and the damage done by their Commodity Futures Modernization Act, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that these co-called conservatives aren’t real smart with money.

Feb 26, 2014 4:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@USofRationality and @USAPragmatist2

The Democrats had the House and the Senate when this bill was passed. He was campaign stumping to pass the bill that was already drwan up, and focused primarily on the things everyone would support. In doing so he promised the stimulus bill would be used to fix the infrastructure. In 4 short years we need to fix the infrastructure again? He misled the public. He isn’t the first politician or President to do this. He wont be the last. But I can not believe a word that comes out of his mouth, because I know he will lie straight to the American public.

October 13, 2010:

With unemployment hovering near 10 percent nearly two years after President Obama signed his economic stimulus package, Mr. Obama is acknowledging that, despite his campaign promises, “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

The president gave that remark in an hour-long interview with the New York Times.

Oh and I remember a line he repeated over and over saying something about keeping your doctor and your health care plan. Remind me how accurate he was with that too…

I guess you two are too committed to the DNC to deal with reality. This man has been lying since he started campaigning in 2008. He tells you what you want to hear, and you make excuses for him when he doesn’t follow through.

Feb 26, 2014 4:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:

Congress must open up infrastructure projects to enable USA economics. Reduce/eliminate naval shipping that uses waste grade oil fuel. Switch to North/Central/South America Rail infrastructure to include a Trans-Bearing Strait route as a matter of efficiency. Re-Engineer rail gauge for reliability and speed. Make Truck/rail/freeway portals at interstate intersections, thus reducing fuel consumption and promoting local electric transport. Build national level canals for water distribution relieving drought by using excessive fresh water run of. We might then improve CO2 sequester by irrigating our mid plane deserts. One of the canal paths through the Rockies could be coupled with a SF to Denver Maglev 2G space ramp using a common power generation infrastructure. Thus promoting Maglev transit as a spinoff of Space Access Maglev launch capacity.
We should build on a strategic infrastructure designed to make USA a Global transportation hub, linking Americas (North Central South) to the old world. Not because this is easy or hard, because this will be our challenge, we must be willing to better mankind.
morbas(i)

Feb 26, 2014 6:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse

@theNewWorld, you say ‘In doing so he promised the stimulus bill would be used to fix the infrastructure. In 4 short years we need to fix the infrastructure again? ‘ Come on man, you seriously think anyone would think you can fix our infrastructure issues for a mere $80-90 billion (what was earmarked for infrastructure in the ARRA) it was to HELP fix our infrastructure and to put people to work. The infrastructure is never ‘fixed’ it needs to be maintained and gradually improved over the years. Heck even if this bill is passed as Obama designed it, VERY doubtful, I am sure it will not ‘fix’ our infrastructural completely, but it will sure help.

With regards to your statement of ‘I guess you two are too committed to the DNC to deal with reality.’ Honestly I wish I had a viable choice, but in my opinion the GOP has jumped so far off the deep end since 2008 and also shown that they value party MUCH more then country, that my main goal right now is not necessarily supporting Democrats but showing just how intransigent the GOP has become. If you do not want to govern, then why run for office?

Feb 26, 2014 6:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@USAPragmatist2

You do know that the various DOTs across the country, and the taxes you pay on your gasoline goes to maintaining and fixing the roads. These things are already funded. This is just positioning a large spending bill by stating it is going to go to something everyone agrees is needed, and then only using 1/10th of the money for that purpose.

I am completely upfront that Obama is not the first or only politician to do this. They all do it. They can’t help not do it. And no the GOP is not any better. There were more options though than Obama and Romney. Until we can get past the mentality that you have to vote for one or the other, or in most people’s cases, against the other party, we are never going to move forward. And that isn’t going to happen until we have pulbicly funded elections and completely nueter the GOP and DNC.

Feb 26, 2014 6:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:

@TheNewWorld The Cause is before us !
Local weather extremes, from drought to flood in the corn belt, simply to much over cast (wet) weather in the East for crops to grow, and California extreme drought (and wild fire). These from a supposedly ‘beneficial global +1 degree C warming’. SOL’s (our named sun) magnetic field weakens as it reverses, and Earth’s magnetic field also flipping (weakening); that both increase cosmic ray cloud cooling effect. But, alas too little or no avale (neutralizing) ‘beneficial +1 degree C’ industrial global warming. I urge the mislead people to read ‘Rare Earth’. NASA is finding thousands of planetary star system(s), and SETI does not detect a single ‘industrial’ extra terrestrial civilization; it is eerily quiet out there amongst this plethora of planetary systems.
-
Greenland ICE volume 9 Meters Ocean Level Rise
Antarctic ICE volume 73Meters Ocean Level Rise
add to this a reflex of the mantel.
-
We know what America looked like 100M years ago with no polar ice; two mountain ranges, Appalachian and Laramidia separated by the Western Interior Seaway. Florida completely awash. Russia and China would dominate the world.
We must vanquish the oligarchs by assertion of the peoples liberty. We may be fighting for survival of Democracy, to include USA, bounded by the Rare Earth cause.
morbas(i)

Feb 26, 2014 7:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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