Obama Pitches For Overhaul Of “Woefully Inefficient” Transportation Infrastructure

By Josh

Oct 11, 2010 12:49pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller Reports: Bringing together governors, mayors, and former transportation secretaries, President Obama said today that the country’s “short-sightedness has come due,” on transportation infrastructure. “It should not take another collapsing bridge or failing levee to shock us into action. So we're already paying for our failure to act,” the president said from the Rose Garden this morning, "We can no longer afford to sit still. What we need is a smart system of infrastructure equal to the needs of the 21st century.” The president pushed for his $50 billion six-year proposal on modernizing and rebuilding America’s roads, railways, and runways, originally proposed on Labor Day. This morning the president convened a meeting with state and local officials and Cabinet officials to drum up support for the plan.  “Investing in our infrastructure is something that members of both political parties have always supported.  It's something that groups ranging from the Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO support today. And by making these investments across the country, we won't just make our economy run better over the long haul; we will create good, middle-class jobs right now.” Joining the president on stage today as well was Sam Skinner, who served under President George H.W. Bush, and Norman Mineta, who served in the Cabinets of both President Clinton and President W. Bush. Both men have been leading a bipartisan group of more than 80 experts who last week released a call to action demanding an overhaul of how America approaches funding and building infrastructure. The administration has matched that report with one of their own from the Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers. “The reports confirm what any American can already tell you: Our infrastructure is woefully inefficient and it is outdated,” the president said, “There’s no reason why we can't do this.  There's no reason why the world's best infrastructure should lie beyond our borders.  This is America.  We've always had the best infrastructure.  This is — this is work that needs to be done.  There are workers who are ready to do it.  All we need is the political will. And this is the season for choices, and this is the choice.” At the stakeout camera following the president’s meeting and remarks, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell touted that the $50 billion investment is the “single-best job creator we can do in this country.” Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood defended the stimulus act as a job creator, despite Vice President Biden’s statement on Friday that the Recovery Act didn’t do enough because the administration couldn’t spend enough. “The idea that our stimulus didn't work is nonsense. Ask any of these mayors or governors who get complaints from their people all the time about the fact that, you know, roads are being fixed up and people are, you know, being delayed. It has worked.” Philadelphia Mayor Mike Nutter quipped that those in the press corp. questioning the success of the stimulus “need to get out a little more.” “But there's more that needs to be done,” Nutter added, “That's what this is about.” -Sunlen Miller

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