With deadline looming, Obama to again push infrastructure
July 14th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
7 years ago

With deadline looming, Obama to again push infrastructure

Washington (CNN) — Once again using some of the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure as his backdrop, President Barack Obama this week plans to pressure lawmakers into finding a way to keep money flowing to road and bridge projects before funding dries up next month.

It’s a message he’s pushed in front of crumbling bridges and at the White House since the beginning of the summer, often using the issue to blast Republicans on Capitol Hill, who he said could be responsible for massive layoffs and stalled projects should a plan to replenish the Highway Trust Fund not materialize before next month.

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The White House said Monday Obama would use two stops this week — at a highway research facility in Northern Virginia on Tuesday and at an "infrastructure site" in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday — to advance plans that would spur innovation in building and in turn create jobs.

The News Journal in Wilmington reported Obama would speak near the I-495 bridge, in serious disrepair and under an emergency closure since June. Obama has made the case for new transportation spending in recent weeks with visits to New York's Tappan Zee Bridge and just outside the Key Bridge linking Northern Virginia and Washington.

A White House official said this week's push would involve announcing new executive actions, including a move to better prepare infrastructure systems for the effects of climate change and an initiative to increase private sector investment in transportation projects.

The effort also includes a new online transportation map that highlights infrastructure projects nationwide and allows users to submit photos of crumbling bridges, roads and tunnels in their communities.

Earlier this month the Obama administration sent letters to states warning that federal funding for road construction projects would start to dwindle at the beginning of August if lawmakers don’t act to bolster the Highway Trust Fund, which relies on a gasoline tax.

As Americans use more fuel-efficient cars and drive less, and thereby buying less gas, the fund has gotten smaller. The Transportation Department has warned that money for road projects will run out in August.

Last week, House and Senate committees passed relatively similar measures that would supply nearly $11 billion for transportation projects, enough to last until roughly next summer.

The bills, approved by the Democratic-led Senate Finance Committee and the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee, will now be considered by each chamber, with the House taking up its version this week.

If both the Senate bill and the House bill pass as expected, the two sides must quickly agree to a compromise bill to keep money flowing and avoid construction slowdowns.

The White House official said Obama would “continue to urge Republican lawmakers to not block” the funding measure during his appearances this week.

Obama himself has laid out a far bigger, $302 billion transportation funding plan that would close certain tax loopholes to fund infrastructure projects. Last week the White House said its own plan was still the best option for avoiding transportation funding gaps.

“The proposal that I’ve seen that I like the best is the one that was put forward by this administration,” White Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “It is a common-sense proposal that certainly deserves the kind of bipartisan support that unfortunately is all too rare in Washington these days.”

–CNN’s Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    It is time foe democrats to march out in front of the Fox cameras, and call out the over served speaker of the house to get this done. Republicans have no problem giving businesses $287 billion in tax cuts with no offsets, yet refuse to help create jobs by fixing our infrastructure.

    July 14, 2014 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  2. old age voter

    The only new infrastructure needed in America right now is a concrete and barbwire topped wall with armed guard towers across the entire southern border!

    July 14, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    –while third world I so proving its infrastructure linked to energy-efficient, solar lighting on the high ways, road, bridge, rail, Airport infrastructures USA is simply bickering based on party lines, shame. Drive these idiots awar. Republican trash needs to go away. Simple.

    July 14, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    -non-profit temples are breaking our tax laws, nab, bust, cancel licenses if found illegal. Nonsense, USA is going drains. Don't let it happen. God bless. Stop religion visas.

    July 14, 2014 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  5. kool aid man

    I like the way he brought climate change into it, show the gop's.ignorance on two issues at the same time. What we really need is more of those unfunded tax breaks for the rich, yeah, that's the ticket, higher inequality is definitely the answer, silly bleeding heart Democrats, oh boo hoo, the parent less legals, no sympathy for the top 1%, who are struggling so badly, what's wrong with rich business owners controlling your life, and your government, you people just don't know what's good for you.

    July 14, 2014 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  6. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    The GOP can give big business over 287 BILLION in UN paid for tax cuts but can't seem to find the time for highway funds to keep our bridges from falling down, talk about GOP INCOMPETENCE???? And you think we are going to VOTE for you in November ???? It's not going to happend and the GOP will LOSE BIG, who's going to vote for the GOP maybe the NEW corperations ARE people imaginary voters?????

    July 14, 2014 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Obama has no ideas, no leadership, and no honesty. He is a broken record, of wasteful spending, and zero accomplishments.

    July 14, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  8. TomInRochNY

    We should have had more infrastructure in the stimulus, instead of the worthless tax cuts that made up 40% of it. Too many brdges, roads and tunnels are crumbling.

    July 14, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    The News Journal in Wilmington reported Obama would speak near the I-495 bridge, in serious disrepair and under an emergency closure since June. Obama has made the case for new transportation spending in recent weeks with visits to New York's Tappan Zee Bridge and just outside the Key Bridge linking Northern Virginia and Washington.
    -------------------------------
    Republicans are so hungry for power that they would rather see this country fall apart and blame Democrats. A figure of 750,000 workers being laid off has been tossed around if a highway bill isn't passed.

    July 14, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  10. Janet Nappylotto

    Obama feeding his Labor Union buddies again. Use competitive-bid non-labor companies and half the costs/cut the completion time in half.

    Besides... Obama would rather dump $3.7 billion on his Border Surge Amnesty Plan rather than help US Citizens.

    July 14, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  11. J Anthony

    This is common sense stuff. But of course it will be a problem somehow for the wingnuts out there, who think repairing America's infrastructure is part of the anti-Christ communist takeover...

    July 14, 2014 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  12. S.B. Stein

    Because there are more fuel efficient cars, the tax should be raised a penny or two per gallon every year for the next 5 to 10 years. As cars become more efficient, the tax should go up slightly. There should also be a larger federal tax on vehicles especially ones that aren't as fuel efficient. It does go too far for personally vehicles to be taxed for how far they drive. Commercial vehicles are a different matter for me.

    Until Congress decides on another way to make sure that the roads and bridges along with other infrastructure can be paid for to be maintained, this has to be done. If the federal government doesn't do it, it will be a lot harder for the states to do it on their own.

    July 14, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  13. Chris..E.al

    Maybe they can up with something fast where we and half of South America can have a safe bypass ? Id hate to have or hit a bump in the road you know . It be nice to have smooth sailing for a change .

    July 14, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  14. Marie MD

    Won't work.
    What our President needs to do is to say that he doesn't care if all bridges crumble (including those in KY where the "one term" senator lives) then the teaklans will jump at the chance to go against him and fix our infrastructure.

    July 14, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  15. Gunderson

    Well,
    If it isn't all spent on food stamps, welfare and unemployment benefits. So what else is deteriorating that the liberals ignored for welfare programs. The next thing will be interpreters for all these border jumpers that are going to be put in the local schools where they can't speak English and so the taxpayers will fund that also. What's that again. Infrastructure? Another Campaign Speech should do it.

    July 14, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  16. g

    just tell the republicans the moneys going to the middle east to build roads and bridges

    July 14, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  17. MaryM

    Those republicans that are not interested in fixing Americas infrastructure can certainly vote for a $287 billion business tax cut with no effort to pay for or offset that amount, but they cant or wont vote on immigration reform bill from the Senate Or Americas Highway Trust Fund bill, the money will run out in August.
    Please America, vote those republicans out of office so All of Congress can get back to doing the American Peoples business For All the American People. Thank You

    July 14, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  18. rs

    Don't worry, Mr. President, the GOP stands ever at the ready to turn the normal functioning processes of government into nail-bighting drama- just because they have no concern for the condition of our nation, or her citizens.

    July 14, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    Obama has no ideas, no leadership, and no honesty. He is a broken record, of wasteful spending, and zero accomplishments.
    ____________
    11 million Americans now have health insurance;
    Osama bin Laden-gone
    2 Bush-era wars- just about done
    Stock Market back in record territory
    Unemployment below late-2008 levels.

    Meanwhile the GOP twirled their thumbs. You have it backwards, sir!

    July 14, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. rs

    MaryM
    Those republicans that are not interested in fixing Americas infrastructure can certainly vote for a $287 billion business tax cut with no effort to pay for or offset that amount, but they cant or wont vote on immigration reform bill from the Senate Or Americas Highway Trust Fund bill, the money will run out in August.
    _________________
    The Republicans still believe in "magic government". The government that can be fully functional without revenues, or where the smallest government since 1968 can take on more load. Remember- these are the "deficits don't matter" people. Government by GOP is an oxymoron.

    July 14, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. Name

    Obama is a puppet we need to end the fed and get all foreign banksters out of our county and our pockets we may not run this country but we make it run

    July 14, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. Stuffitu

    One has to ask what happened to that trillion dollars he got as part of the stimulus program. It went to the dope addicts, welfare frauds and corrupt unions and nothing really got done. We need something to make sure the same thing does not happen to those money. But this being the most corrupt, incompetent, inept president in history, that will not happen.

    July 14, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  23. yolanda

    It certainly is refreshing to see that he isn't into photo ops........

    July 14, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Stuffitu

    One has to ask what happened to that trillion dollars he got as part of the stimulus program. It went to the dope addicts, welfare frauds and corrupt unions and nothing really got done. We need something to make sure the same thing does not happen to those money. But this being the most corrupt, incompetent, inept president in history, that will not happen.
    ----------------------------–
    What happened to the 2009 Stimulus money? Tax cuts. Most of the Stimulus went towards tax cuts. 40% of it went towards federal income tax cuts, with the rest going to the states. Most every Republican governor used as much of the money as possible to fund tax cuts in their states.

    July 14, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    S.B. Stein

    Because there are more fuel efficient cars, the tax should be raised a penny or two per gallon every year for the next 5 to 10 years. As cars become more efficient, the tax should go up slightly. There should also be a larger federal tax on vehicles especially ones that aren't as fuel efficient. It does go too far for personally vehicles to be taxed for how far they drive. Commercial vehicles are a different matter for me.
    -------------------------------
    The last time the tax was increased George H.W. Bush was POTUS.

    July 14, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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