Obama pushes infrastructure investment during Minnesota trip
February 26th, 2014
10:43 AM ET
7 months ago

Obama pushes infrastructure investment during Minnesota trip

Updated 4:49 p.m. ET, 2/26/2014

(CNN) – On a visit to St. Paul, Minnesota Wednesday President Barack Obama launched his administration's latest grant-funding competition this time aimed at spurring investment in new infrastructure projects.

Framing the announcement as part of his 2014 "year of action," the President told a crowd gathered in the city's new Union Depot that infrastructure projects are a direct path to jobs.

"Any opportunity agenda begins with creating more good jobs and one of the best, fastest ways to create good jobs is by rebuilding America's infrastructure," Obama said. "Our roads, our bridges, our rails, our ports, our airports, our schools, our power grids. We've got a lot of work to do out there and we got to put folks to work."

Obama pointed to the building he was standing in as a prime example. Union Depot was rehabilitated with the help of federal TIGER grants, and Obama called on cities and states to apply for $600 million in newly available TIGER funding before an April 28 deadline.

This new round of grants will be targeted at transportation projects that effect job creation, economic competitiveness and economic development. For the first time since 2010, applications can also include proposals to fund planning grants.

Originally created as part of the 2009 Recovery Act and subsequently reauthorized as part of the omnibus spending bill signed into law earlier this year, according to the White House the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program has funded $3.5 billion worth of projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico since its creation.

Obama also urged Congress to take up his forthcoming transportation reauthorization proposal worth more than $300 billion, including $150 billion in new revenue achieved by reforming the nation's corporate tax structure.

"Congress has an important deadline coming up," the President said. "If Congress doesn't finish a transportation bill by the end of the summer we could see construction projects stop in their tracks. Machines sitting idle. Workers off the job. So next week I'm going to send Congress a budget that funds rebuilding our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way.

According to a fact sheet distributed by the White House, the President's proposal will include "closing unfair tax loopholes, lowering tax rates, and making the system more fair."

This would create a one-time source of revenue that would then be dedicated to funding surface transportation projects.

A statement issued by Kathleen Bower of AAA, an association of motor clubs formerly known as the American Automotive Association, offered a mixed reaction to the President's remarks. Bower lauded the President for "finally focusing on the funding of our nation's transportation system" but criticized his plan to use one-time funding to address the problems, and instead called for "immediate action" to secure long-term funding through new tax revenue.

"AAA agrees with a large group of diverse transportation stakeholders that a gas tax increase is the most viable, responsible and effective near-term solution to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent," said Bower, AAA vice president for public affairs.

CNN's Chloe Sommers contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The NO spend GOP clowns that ran up the defict sence 2001 won't do anything until a bridge falls on their head and then try to blame Obama for it. And the cuts to the military that the GOP is whining about are due to THEIR sequester cuts. It's ok as long as you don't cut OUR favorites !!!!!!

    February 26, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. much thunder...little rain

    both republicans and democrats need jobs..go for it

    February 26, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. smith

    Woo Hoo, lets spend lots of money to fix something that isn`t broke.

    February 26, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    Keep yourself bundled up, Mr. President: while spring is right around the corner (one hopes) we are still in a deep freeze.

    "This new one-time source of revenue would be dedicated to funding surface transportation projects."

    Oh, and btw: that resufacing project on highway 169 already completed? Thanks. Our ride up north is ever so much less bumpy.

    What the roads will be like during spring thaw is anyone's guess.

    February 26, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. Thaddeus

    Just watch, a Republican will find a way to oppose this bill.

    Ask this simple question. who do you support, the USA or the GOP....?

    February 26, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The President will call on cities and states to apply for $600 million in new TIGER discretionary grants, which were originally created as part of the 2009 Recovery Act and reauthorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act signed earlier this year.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Many worthwhile infrastructure projects in Maryland have the words "Recovery Act" as part of their signage.
    I point this out because apparently folks who live in Red states have NO idea what the Recovery Act is, and now much less, the TIGER grants.
    The Governors of these states would rather let their state's infrastructure crumble than to create jobs by implementing anything the President proposes.

    TIGER grants – re-investing in America.
    Imagine that!
    Thank you Mr. President!!

    February 26, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Obama will urge Congress to take up a new transportation reauthorization proposal worth $302 billion, including $150 billion in new revenue achieved by reforming the nation’s corporate tax structure.
    --------------------------------
    We do need to repair and improve our infrastructure, anyway. Seriously. There are potholes everywhere that look like Godzilla footprints, man. Unfortunately, joining a major infrastructure proposal to a corporate tax increase will not make it past Republicans in the Senate, much less see the light of day in the House.

    February 26, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. LacrosseMom

    Rebuilding our infrastructure should be one of our government's top priority, especially once we stop wasting TRILLIONS in Afghanistan!

    President Obama........ let's rebuild our infrastructure and put America back to work!

    February 26, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Silence DoGood

    @smith
    Woo Hoo, lets spend lots of money to fix something that isn`t broke.
    -------------
    Back on Earth it is common knowledge and something both sides of the political spectrum have complained about. Do you just live in a cave and type anti-government rants? --
    (Reuters) – "Tens of thousands of bridges in the United States need major repair or replacement, and maintenance backlogs are growing amid tight federal and state budgets..."

    February 26, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Woo Hoo, lets spend lots of money to fix something that isn`t broke
    -------------------------------------------------
    If I were South Carolina I would be the first one in line for one of these grants.
    There are schools there in terrific disrepair.
    Many bridges and highways across our cities and nation are in need of repair as well.
    Areas of traffic congestion in some states, mine being one of them, have benefitted from funds to widen or even create new highways, thereby giving people quicker access to places of businesses.
    I do not think you could be referring to our nation's infrastructure in your comment smith.

    February 26, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    smith
    Woo Hoo, lets spend lots of money to fix something that isn`t broke.
    ------–

    Don't drive, smith? Well then, let me fill you in: State by state, our infrastructure is a disaster. The longer we delay, the worse our highways, bridges, train rail becomes.

    From my perch on the fence, I see America falling apart at the seems ... literally. I really would like to work together to improve what should be fixed sooner rather than later.

    February 26, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Donna

    Obama and his 1930's WPA ideas are as old and moldy as it gets. This clueless clown simply does not know what its takes to get the private sector growing again. Actually, after 5 years, I don't think he really cares anymore. All he cares about are raising taxes to fund more government projects for his union supporters.

    February 26, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. Silence DoGood

    The first thing an evil leader does is rebuild infrastructure used by everyone and create jobs.
    If Obama could walk out and pick a flower and there would be angry rants.

    February 26, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    There he goes again... wanting to spend tax revenues on stoopid stuff like infrastructure. When is this guy going to learn, Tax Revenue is ONLY to be used for tax cuts to the wealthy who will in turn create jobs and make all the poor and middle class people rich.. That's why we have had such great job opportunites and low unemployment, because the job creators (AKA- Makers) have gotten these massive tax cuts and they have trickled it down. Can't you tell how great this system is working... that is why we are ALL rich now and no one has to actually work for a living. We can now all buy mansions on the hill and yachts and have offshore bank accounts where we can hide our money and won't even have to pay even the low taxe rate we are supposed to.
    What a great country and what a great system. It is so nice to not have to spend tax dollars on stoopid stuff, just knowing if we give all our tax revenue to the rich, they will give it back to us tenfold, because they are so patriotic....
    Oh, if you don't agree with this right wing 'fact', then you are a taker and don't deserve any rights or privileges of being a Merican citizen and you can just get out of our real Merica....

    February 26, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. 2_indy1600

    It beats Keystone for any number of reasons. I don't understand why we would want to put more oil into China when they won't clean up their air. We can't control the weather, but China won't play ball on a number of issues, including their air quality. Why would we want to encourage Keystone jobs and bad air, when there are so many things to do around our own country...especially after this Winter. Red or blue state, let's help our country get back on it's feet before feeding big oil.

    February 26, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. bill

    We could pay for a lot of food stamps and obama phones with the money this clown spends flying around in his personal taxie.

    February 26, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. S.B. Stein

    We need to make sure that all the roads, bridges and rails are all in good shape. If we can increase the gas tax (this is coming from someone who drives alot) a couple of pennies a gallon, that might help a bit. We also need the oil and gas companies to show some willingness to help fix the road and rail ways that they fuel. I don't know how best to encourage this or legislate it, but it makes sense to me.

    February 26, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    Babe when was the last time you were on the BQE (Be Quick to Exit we used to call it when I lived in Queens)?
    That particular stretch of "highway" was where many of us found out if we were truly good drivers or just wannabes that should have their license revoked!
    Pothole city!

    February 26, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -smith

    Woo Hoo, lets spend lots of money to fix something that isn`t broke.
    **********************
    Do you drive a car? Do you drive it with your eyes open? Those big holes in the road are the least of our problems, so please don't say that repairing and maintaining infrastructure is unimportant, or do you need another bridge collapse in MN to drive home the point?

    February 26, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    Link every darn village to AMTRACK. Nation needs to link to Rai Lines. Look at other nations. What is wrong with America.

    February 26, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Gurgyl

    @smith–is I to.k to spend on wars, Halliburton, idiot.

    February 26, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Obama will urge Congress to take up a new transportation reauthorization proposal worth $302 billion, including $150 billion in new revenue achieved by reforming the nation’s corporate tax structure.
    ----------–
    We do need to repair and improve our infrastructure, anyway. Seriously. There are potholes everywhere that look like Godzilla footprints, man. Unfortunately, joining a major infrastructure proposal to a corporate tax increase will not make it past Republicans in the Senate, much less see the light of day in the House.
    -------–
    Why doesn't he propose the money come from the gas tax? Not enough money? Then raise the gas tax and make EVERYONE pay.

    February 26, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. John, PA

    You can already hear the Lies coming out of president Obamas mouth; "shovel ready jobs"; another initiative from a president that knows nothing about creating jobs; making a budget, running a business.

    February 26, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. Tommy G

    Rudy NYC
    Obama will urge Congress to take up a new transportation reauthorization proposal worth $302 billion, including $150 billion in new revenue achieved by reforming the nation’s corporate tax structure.
    ----------–
    Seriously. There are potholes everywhere that look like Godzilla footprints, man
    ---

    Might I suggest you call you local DPW to have them filled? There is no federal Dept. of Potholes, though I am sure Obama and the Demorcats would love to create one.

    February 26, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. just saying

    Gurgyl
    Link every darn village to AMTRACK. Nation needs to link to Rai Lines. Look at other nations. What is wrong with America.
    -–

    ahhhh, we've progressed beyond the 19th century? we have no villages. you also seemed to miss th einvention of the automobile. check them out, pretty wild. can go anyplace, without a big train.

    February 26, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
1 2 3 4