BOSTON Feb 26 General Electric Co
Chairman Jeff Immelt said Wednesday he could not close a
business deal with one of the richest men in Africa on his cell
phone because of poor broadband coverage at his home in
He offered the anecdote at business conference to underscore
how he believes the United States has slipped in its
"I told him, 'You're going to have to call me on my
landline,'" Immelt said, drawing a round of laughs at the
Harvard Business School conference on transportation and
infrastructure. He did not name the African leader.
Immelt said the United States remains a world leader in
freight and with its oil and gas infrastructure. He said the
country is falling behind in air traffic control and passenger
rail. He added that broadband isn't where it should be.
"Infrastructure creates winners and losers. We don't want to
be a loser," Immelt said.
His brief remarks come as President Barack Obama unveils a
$302 billion plan to fix the nation's roads and bridges.
Congress, meanwhile, faces a Sept 30 deadline to renew
federal funding for transportation programs. One of those
programs, the Highway Trust Fund that helps pay for road and
bridge projects, is teetering on insolvency.