By Larry Ehl, July 30, 2013
President Obama signing MAP-21 into law.
President Obama used the backdrop of another transportation-related
facility, an Amazon distribution center, to urge Congress to invest in
infrastructure. Last week he appeared at the Port of Jacksonville to
urge more investment in transportation. See our story about that speech:
“What the President Did and Didn’t Say About Transportation Last Week.”
The focus of Tuesday’s long speech (over 3,000 words!) was
initiatives to stimulate the creation of middle-class jobs.
Basically,he’s proposing a small cut to corporate tax rates in exchange
for investing in infrastructure and other job-creating initiatives, says Business Insider.
The President discussed increasing jobs in four areas (manufacturing;
infrastructure; renewable energy, and exports. He also proposed a
“grand bargain” that would cut corporate taxes in exchange for higher
spending on job-training programs.
Below are the President’s transportation-related remarks from his speech. The President “snubbed” a local transportation project
in need of federal funds, by not mentioning it in his speech, according
to some folks. During his earlier speech at the Port of Jacksonville
the President mentioned several important projects to illustrate the
need to invest in infrastructure.
The White House provides a copy of the entire speech. Read accounts of the speech and proposal from the New York Times, or the Washington Times. Republicans essentially rejected the proposals outright.
What the President said about transportation:
“So today, I came here to offer a framework that might help break
through some of the political logjam in Washington and try to get
Congress to start moving on some of these proven ideas. But let me
briefly outline some of the areas I think we need to focus on if we want
to create good jobs, with good wages, in durable industries -– areas
that will fuel our future growth.”
“. . . . Number two — I talked about this last week — jobs rebuilding
our infrastructure. I look at this amazing facility and you guys, you
don’t miss a beat. I mean, you’ve got these packages coming out.
You’ve got dog food and Kindles and beard trimmers. (Laughter.) I
mean, there’s all kinds of stuff around here. But once it’s packed up,
it’s got to get to the customer. And how quickly and how dependably it
gets to the customer depends on do we have good roads, do we have good
bridges, do we have state-of-the-art airports.
We’ve got about $2 trillion of deferred maintenance here in this
country. So let’s put more construction workers back on the job doing
the work America needs done. (Applause.) These are vital projects that
Amazon needs, businesses all across the country need, like widening
Route 27 here in Chattanooga — (applause) — deepening the Jacksonville
Port that I visited last week. These are projects vital to our national
We’re going to be breaking ground this week at the St. Louis Arch.
Congress should pass what I’ve called my “Fix-It-First” plan to put
people to work immediately on our most urgent repairs, like the 100,000
bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare. That will create
good middle-class jobs right now. (Applause.) And we should partner
with the private sector to upgrade what businesses like Amazon need
most. We should have a modern air traffic control system to keep planes
running on time. We should have modern power grids and pipelines to
survive a storm. We should have modern schools to prepare our kids for
the jobs of tomorrow. (Applause.)
Number three, we need to keep creating good jobs in energy — in wind
and solar and natural gas. Those new energy sources are reducing energy
costs. They’re reducing dangerous carbon pollution. They’re reducing
our dependence on foreign oil. So now is not the time to gut
investments in American technology. Now is the time to double down on
renewable energy and biofuels and electric vehicles, and to put money
into the research that will shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.