On Tuesday in a speech at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va. U.S. President Barack Obama called on republicans in Congress to work alongside democrats in order to pass a common sense long-term infrastructure repair bill.
According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday, if an infrastructure bill extending the Highway Trust Fund is not passed by the beginning of August, many federally-funded highway projects will screech to a halt, potentially putting 700,000 Americans out of work and creating greater dangers in the nation’s already deteriorating road and bridge systems.
“This is not an abstract issue. And it shouldn’t be even a partisan issue,” President Obama remarked to the audience in attendance. “Republicans, Democrats, independents -- everybody uses our roads. After this last winter, you got potholes everywhere wrecking your car. I mean, how many people here have had the experience of you’re driving along and suddenly your car is wrecked? And you pay for that out of pocket. When you are in traffic congestion -- because of poor planning and bad infrastructure -- when you could be at home reading to your kid or catching their ballgame, that's a cost to you.
“Everybody cares about that. It doesn't matter what your political persuasion is,” he added.
The President did remark that there are short-term stop-gap infrastructure bills presently making their way through both chambers of Congress. However he urged in order to save money overall and to have more effective planning, Congress needs to pass longer bills in order to better invest in our future.
Obama noted that the infrastructure plan he proposed earlier in the year would
- “support millions of jobs
- give cities and states, and private investors the certainty they need to plan ahead and hire more workers
- help small businesses ship their goods faster
- help parents get home to their kids faster
- mean less wear and tear on your car
- mean less money on gas
- save people money
- support cutting-edge research like the work that you’re doing here, which could end up cutting back on the number of traffic fatalities.”
The President also noted that by closing the unfair tax loopholes which the wealthy and corporations presently enjoy, his infrastructure plan could be funded without adding to the deficit.
Since President Obama has been in office, the deficit has thus far been reduced by over one-half from the deficit level which he inherited from President George W. Bush and according to the Washington Post the deficit for 2014 is expected by the White House to be $583 billion.