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Obama Calls For Boost in Transportation Infrastructure Investment

December 08, 2009

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In a nationally televised speech today at the Brookings Institution, President Barack Obama outlined his plan for tackling the job market, including additional investments in transportation infrastructure as a way to stimulate jobs and economic growth.


Obama said this funding would go beyond what was included in the Recovery Act, to ramp up work on roads, bridges, water systems, Superfund sites, broadband networks and clean energy projects.

"These are needed public works that engage private sector companies, spurring hiring across the country," he said during his speech. "The potential for abuse in a program of this magnitude, while operating at such a fast pace, was enormous. So I asked Vice President Biden and others to make sure - to the extent humanly possible - that the investments were sound, the projects worthy, and the execution efficient. What this means is that we're going to see even more work - and workers - on Recovery projects in the next six months than we saw in the last six months."

He also said he recognized that these projects take time and that jobs are not going to be created over night.

"But the need for jobs will also last beyond next year and the benefits of these investments will last years beyond that," he said. "So adding to this initiative to rebuild America's infrastructure is the right thing to do."

In response to the president's comments, the American Trucking Associations issued a statement in support of his plan to invest in infrastructure. The ATA also urged Congress and the Obama Administration to expedite funding for current highway projects, in addition to a quick passage of the long-term highway bill.

According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, nearly 7,500 highway projects throughout the country worth more than $47 billion are ready to start immediately, the ATA says. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration estimates that each billion dollars invested in federal-aid highway projects creates about 30,000 jobs.

Obama's plan also included measures to assist small businesses grow and add new staff, and a new program to reward consumers who make their homes more energy efficient.



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