White House turns to infrastructure as funding deadline looms
May 11th, 2014
11:12 AM ET
4 months ago

White House turns to infrastructure as funding deadline looms

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama turns his attention this week to the state of America’s roads and bridges as the clock ticks toward a funding gap on infrastructure projects nationwide.

The White House said Sunday that Obama and his deputies would spent multiple days this week calling on Congress to pass a bill to improve the country’s crumbling infrastructure before existing funding runs out at the end of this summer.

The highlight will come Wednesday when Obama delivers remarks in front of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York’s lower Hudson Valley. The more-than-16,000 foot cantilever bridge is in a state of disrepair after years of overuse; a replacement Hudson River span is set to open in 2018.

The White House is also sending Vice President Joe Biden to St. Louis on Tuesday to highlight a pedestrian bridge project allowing easier access to the city’s famous Gateway Arch.

The push comes as the federal Highway Trust Fund is rapidly dwindling, setting up a so-called “transportation cliff” toward the end of August. Fueled by gasoline taxes, the fund hasn’t been able to keep up with spending demands as Americans spend less on fuel.

Meanwhile, America’s highways and bridges - and other critical parts of the nation's transportation infrastructure such as railways - need serious upgrades and repairs. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives U.S. infrastructure a D+ in terms of condition and performance.

Obama has laid out a plan that would supplement the Highway Trust Fund with $150 billion for new infrastructure investments, which the White House says would both repair dangerous roads and bridges and put more Americans back to work.

“President Obama has laid out a vision for a 21st century transportation infrastructure that would not only avert a crisis in the short-term but would support millions of jobs and help position our economy for lasting growth,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said.

CNNMoney’s Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Lizzie

    Where we not to believe 6 years ago, that those are shovel ready jobs.

    May 11, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Gunderson

    Whazzat?,
    The Federal Highway Fund is dwindling? So what do you want me to do? You can fix the Highways or put more people on Food Stamps. Seems like the rubber has hit the road or to say it another way the Asphalt has hit the fan. What the hell, a Billion here, a Billion there, pretty soon we're talking real money, or more and more red ink.

    May 11, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Blake

    The fact is this is a fairly simple issue and shouldn't be political. Most infrastructure in the USA is over 100 years old. That's highways, bridges, utilities etc etc. It's breaking down. There isn't the money to fund it right now. Many people are still looking for work and there's a shortage in this area and trades. Why not fund infrastructure that in mandatory for a nation to survive, while also putting people back to work who may be on food stamps?

    This should be simple, unless you want to drive on ruined highways in your 1-2 hour commute or have an overpass or a bridge fall while your going over it. Or have high pressure water/gas lines explode under your car or while your walking seriously hurting/killing you. Or natural gas lines blowing up your neighborhood like a few years back...

    Why is it that everyone just can't get on board with infrastructure spending and instead have to make it political and about money? The USA wasn't just a industrial giant out of thin air. It took a lot of money, infrastructure and hard work/investment to build the things taken for granted today. You can't be "number 1" if you're too cheap to make even basic investments in the country to maintain it, period.

    May 11, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Luberal R Lazlows

    Why not take the $ millions being spent on the FDA education Mexican Nationals on how to get US Food Stamps after they illegally enter the country?

    May 11, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Bessy

    Lizzie
    Where we not to believe 6 years ago, that those are shovel ready jobs.

    Blame the Repubs for never getting this started or completed. They have consistently voted NO on getting this going.

    May 11, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Blake

    @Bessy

    That's basically the problem. Here has been the political discourse over jobs:

    Republics running for 2010: Obama isn't getting us out of the Recession creating jobs, Government doesn't create jobs job creators do. Stimulus failed (even though by this time we were out of the recession). Vote us in and we will create jobs.

    Democrat and Republican back and forth 2010-2014:

    Obama/Democrats: Ok we got infrastructure problem and an employment problem, lets make a jobs bill that tackles both and modernize the United States for the 21st century.

    House Republicans: No. Remember those were supposed to be shovel ready jobs? Government doesn't create jobs, job creators do. Denied.

    Obama /Democrats: Ok what's your plan?

    House Republicans: Well corporate tax breaks to bring in investment and oh yeah, total defunding of food stamps, unemployment insurance, fire loads of government employees. We have a debt, 47% are takers problem.

    Obama/Democrats: How does corporate tax breaks help anyone let alone infrastructure? How does firing and gutting problems people depend on while out of work help? Haven't we had the lowest corporate tax rate for years and job creators are still not hiring?

    Republicans: Sure that's because of you Obama since under you the top 1% have only increased their profits/wealth 400% instead of 291380809%. The debt has skyrocketed too because of your historically crazy spending... even though you have cut the annual deficit in half and most of the deficit growth is interest and lack of revenue due to the recession...

    Voters: Yeah go Republicans show that Obama who really needs the help! Corporations do! I don't need to see my wage or lot in life improve after 20-30 years of stagnation depending on job creators to make "free market" decisions. We need to control Obama/Democrats and their liberal/commie ways. Don't increase the minimum wage or fix infrastructure etc. people it might actually help me... even though poll after poll I agree with both by like 80-80% margins.

    Point is the problem isn't Republicans. It's voters.

    May 11, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. MIke in Texas

    Lizzie,

    This is on the Republicans. They won't pass any jobs bill involving infrastructure because it's a win for Obama. Republicans can't give Obama any wins because they have to make him look bad. In the past under past Presidents there has been bi partisan support for infrastructure projects but not with Obama. So for the past six years they have been shovel ready jobs, it's just the party you support would rather have our country fail than to support any ideas our President has. If you really did some research Lizzie you would see that many things Obama supports used to be supported by Republicans. Obama isn't some leftist radical. He is more centrist, but the Republicans keep moving further right because lord forbid they agree with the President. Ask yourself this, why do Republicans not support things now that they used to support before Obama became President? There's only one answer......they hate Obama. The can try to rationalize something else but we know the real reason.

    May 11, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Bill from GA

    Here in Georgia, we may be finally getting Federal funding to deepen the Port of Savannah.

    Congressmen here running for the soon-to-be open Senate seat are complaining that Obama wouldn't give them the money, even though the amount approved, 15 years ago, had a cap limiting to about $200 million less than needed. But what's $200 mil to Congress; Barry shoulda slipped the money to em anyway. Actually, Barry and Joe both support the port deepening, but won't go around Congress to do it.

    These same Congressmen are campaigning about cutting Obama's out-of-control spending, and Obama's Federal job-killing agenda. (And, of course, repealing ObamaCare.)

    May 11, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Bill from GA

    The gas tax, at the state and federal level, needs to be raised. We are paying much less in tax per mile driven than 30 years ago, and the money must come from somewhere.

    The oil companies and Wall Street traders can raise the price of gas $.50 or more and we accept it, but if lawmakers try to increase the tax 5 cents, we go crazy.

    These highways were paid for by people in their 40's, 50's and up; now Americans are too cheap to even maintain them. Eisenhower, the greatest Republican President in my lifetime, knew the value of a great highway system. We all benefit from his wisdom. Where is that wisdom now?

    May 11, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. J Anthony

    @GunDERPson: are you for real? Or a computer program?

    May 11, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    Ah yes, the GOTP promised you job, Jobs, JOBS, and what you got was the shaft, Shaft, SHAFT, and oodles and bunches of Benghazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiiii hearings that went no where. But if at first you don't, suceed--try ,try again. At this rate we will be holding hearing of the great, great, great (and on and on) grandchildren of all the various players in 2525.

    May 11, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    Bessy
    Lizzie
    Where we not to believe 6 years ago, that those are shovel ready jobs.

    Blame the Repubs for never getting this started or completed. They have consistently voted NO on getting this going.

    +++++++++++++++

    I blame the governors in red states who took the $$$ for the shovel-ready jobs and used it to balance their budgets then crowed about about doing so without mentioning HOW they did so. Or in the case of chris christie, used it to give tax breaks to the wealthy.

    May 11, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    The GOP will do ZnOTHING if it will HELP CREATE JOBS under Obama. That's WHY their going to LOSE the HZoUZsE AND SENATE in November . Nobody is going to vote FOR MORE GOP FAILURE!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Lizzie

    Sorry, but this is on President Obamas administration, or did you miss it where he acknowledged that he was wrong.
    This is another ploy of the democrats to invent a new tax, as President Obama stated, let's make ALL highways toll-roads to compensate for people driving less and more fuel efficient cars.

    May 11, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. L

    Well who keeps blocking the jobs? Democrats won't approve the pipeline. Reid won't even bring it to a vote. It's BOTH sides of the House and Senate that are playing politics. It's the same old dog and pony show.

    May 11, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Gunderson
    Whazzat?,
    The Federal Highway Fund is dwindling? So what do you want me to do? You can fix the Highways or put more people on Food Stamps. Seems like the rubber has hit the road or to say it another way the Asphalt has hit the fan. What the hell, a Billion here, a Billion there, pretty soon we're talking real money, or more and more red ink.

    What is your point? Bridges are falling into rivers. Roads are being sucked in by sink holes. Railroads cannot keep up with mandated safety requirements. Spend some money on infrastructure and people will be back to work and our quality of life will be better. Naw... let's give another trillion to the Pentagon. Right?

    May 11, 2014 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  17. S. B. Stein

    We need a raise in the federal gas tax and reduce subsidies for oil and car companies. I would keep it for some if the bothered to put in tens of billions of dollars to get all the roads fixed and bridges repaired among other transportation needs.

    May 11, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  18. Thomas

    China to build new East Africa railway line !
    The Chines are building a new canal in Nicaragua .

    And we in America are more pre occupied by Benghazi .

    Americans deserve high speed rail , safe and reliable transportation .

    May 11, 2014 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  19. @RI_Roger

    Let's redirect the "Green Energy" funds and some of the wasted ObamaCare Website funding to infrastructure. When those funds are depleted, let's talk again about where else we can find more tax payer funds used for crony capitalism that should be redirected to infrastructure.

    May 12, 2014 05:55 am at 5:55 am |