Obama urges Congress to renew transportation bill in weekly address
September 3rd, 2011
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama urges Congress to renew transportation bill in weekly address

(CNN) – President Barack Obama called on Congress Saturday to pass a clean extension of the transportation bill, warning of economic calamity in the failure of its passage.

“This would put a stop to highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit systems and other important projects that keep our country moving quickly and safely,” Obama said in his weekly address.

The current Surface Transportation Bill, which is critical for the maintenance of the nation’s highway system, is set to expire at the end of September.

But Congressional Republicans and Democrats are strongly divided over both the cost and duration of any extension.

While Congress has renewed the bill seven times in the past two years, Obama, who made a similar speech at the White House on Wednesday, said political posturing may stand in the way of another extension.

Obama said the immediate effects of such a fallout would include the furlough of more than 4,000 workers and a loss of $1 billion in highway funding if the extension is delayed for 10 days.

“And if we wait even longer, almost 1 million workers could be in danger of losing their jobs over the next year,” Obama said. “Those are serious consequences, and the pain will be felt all across the country.”

The president said both the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce – two groups that disagree politically – agreed that Congress should act now on the bill.

“There’s a lot of talk in Washington these days about creating jobs. But it doesn’t help when those same folks turn around and risk losing hundreds of thousands of jobs just because of political gamesmanship,” Obama said. “We need to pass this transportation bill and put people to work rebuilding America.”

Filed under: Congress • Democrats • President Obama • Republicans
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. diridi

    Bangalore is going to have metro in third world nation, why can't America do this bill???????Lobby, lobby, lobby. lobby....Cure this disease, and have senate and congress term limits...period....

    September 3, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  2. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    “This would put a stop to highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit systems and other important projects that keep our country moving quickly and safely,” Obama said in his weekly address.

    That's exactly what the Republican Taliban wants. Their goal is to destroy our economy and our country, just as they were instructed by their Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Notice how George Bush helped to spirit his family out of the country just after 9/11, then told America that he was no longer interested in finding him?Republicans are terrorists working from the inside out.

    September 3, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The fact that this is even an issue shows just how far the GOBPbaggers will go to damage the economy and much of America in order to have a breath of a chance next November. They care for the greedy, not the needy (or the rest of us, for that matter). When it becomes so nakedly apparent that the GOBPbaggers, the extreme right wing radicals and the rest of their crazy cult leaders and followers put party and ideology ahead of the America's best interests, then it's time to consign these un-American weasels to the trash heap of history.

    September 3, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  4. d

    well if this one does not get passed then even the gop tp backers should take notice and hopefully put the last nail in the coffin of the gop.

    September 3, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  5. Donkey Party

    And the Grand Obstructionist Party will do everything it can to make sure the bill fails. They have declared war on the middle-class, it's time we declare war on the GOP. They have zero regard for us, they are slowly killing us, what is it going to take for people to wake the eff up and fight back? The GOP wants a Civil War, let's give them one.

    September 3, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Ed

    With all your scare tatics I don't think you know how to tell the truth.

    Do you job and you wouldn't have the problems we do now you can't keep blaming othe people for your failures take you mistakes like a leader would and just do it.

    September 3, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. contraryjim

    He wants to buy more votes from the construction unions. IF you don't have the $$ wait til you do. NO MORE borrowing.

    September 3, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |

    I'm so sorry Mr. President, but it seems the majority of Congress are hell bent on destroying you AND main street Americans. I say this with all due respect to you and millions of people waiting for the jobs. We are all doomed. But, thank you for trying once again for the effort in trying to turn this Country around and make things better. I would love to be in a Congressional seat in order to help this Country. Therefore I am putting MY NAME on the ticket when elections come up for these seats. No money spent on campaigning, just my one vote for me. I'm fed up with everyone in Congress and I'll take any seat coming available.

    September 3, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  9. KatR

    One of the powers that Congress has is to "establish post offices and post roads". That was written into our Constitution back in 1789....before highways, trains, airplanes and the Internet existed. But it still applies today. Without a strong infrastructure the private sector incurs additiional costs reaching out to customers and delivering the products they buy. Too bad that Republicans, in their lust for power, refuse to follow through on any ideas proposed by this particular President. To them it's more important to remove him from office than it is to help this country get back on its feet.

    September 3, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Rich

    What in the world happened to all the shovel ready jobs that the stimulus bill was suppose to tackle. Our roads bridges and infrastructure was suppose to be a major piece of this $1.2 Trillion spending package. Where did all the money go and why is the infrastructure showing no signs of being repaired or in the process of being repaired. I am afraid if we find out where this money actually went it will make us all sick!

    September 3, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. Ron

    Of course the GOP is not going to do it, now that you've made it known that you support renewal. Maybe, you should have urged them to stay on vacation a few days longer – they would have returned on Tues – and NOT to renew the bill – they would have done it on Monday night.

    September 3, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Debra From Georgia

    Mr. It will be okay, we will get to vote, to hand the whitehouse back to you in 2012 and a congress that will help you.

    September 3, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    The repugs will continue to let the country fall apart before the give Obama anything he wants that may improve the economy. Repugs want Obama to fail, even if it brings America down also.

    September 3, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |