AASHTO Journal, 15 February 2013
Transportation groups and leaders expressed support this week for President Obama’s call for additional investment in transportation infrastructure in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
“Tonight I propose a ‘Fix-It-First’ program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country,” Obama said. “And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children.”
The “Fix-It-First” initiative would target about $50 billion to make urgent upgrades in transportation and other infrastructure necessary to help citizens and commerce continue to move about the country. Obama’s connection between economic prosperity and a strong national transportation system sparked praise from the transportation community.
“AASHTO salutes President Obama for again calling for greater investment in America’s infrastructure. Now we need to work together to tackle the most pressing issue facing our transportation system—how we are going to pay for it,” said American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Executive Director Bud Wright. “We look forward to working closely with the Administration and members of Congress on legislation that will shore up the Highway Trust Fund with a long-term, sustainable source of funding to pay for the nation’s highway and transit programs. Funding transportation creates jobs, promotes continued economic growth, and gives state transportation agencies the resources necessary to maintain and modernize the transportation systems future generations will depend on.”
Other transportation groups echoed Wright’s statement.
“We appreciate President Obama continuing to highlight the link between a strong, properly-functioning transportation infrastructure network and economic competitiveness,” said American Road & Transportation Builders Association President and CEO Pete Ruane in a statement. “His call for increased investment in roads, bridges, and transit systems has been echoed repeatedly by scores of congressional leaders from both parties, the nation’s governors, and state and local transportation officials. Everyone is in agreement. So let’s use the opportunity at hand to start developing real solutions to address America’s infrastructure deficit.”
“As stewards of our nation’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers applauds President Obama’s efforts to improve our country’s ailing infrastructure and get America back to work,” said ASCE President Gregory DiLoreto in a statement. “Infrastructure is the foundation of our communities, and without it, our businesses, schools, and everyday lives cease to function. The President said it himself; we have an ‘aging infrastructure badly in need of repair.’ Simply, we must invest in our roads, bridges, ports, and water systems. This will help us a build a 21st century America for an ever-changing 21st century economy.”
The full text of President Obama’s State of the Union speech is available here.