A Highway of Uncertainty
“At a time when a lot of people in Washington are talking about creating jobs, it’s time to stop the political gamesmanship that can actually cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs,” Obama said in his Aug. 31, 2011, address. “This should not be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. I’m calling on Congress…to pass a clean extension of the surface transportation bill, along with a clean extension of the FAA bill, to give workers and communities across America the confidence that vital construction projects won’t come to a halt.”
Obama noted that funding projects based on whose district they’re in needs to end. “No more bridges to nowhere,” the President said. “No more projects that are simply funded because of somebody pulling strings. And we need to do this all in a way that gets the private sector more involved. That’s how we’re going to put construction workers back to work right now doing the work that America needs done.”
In reaction to Obama’s call for a clean extension of a “clean extension” of U.S. surface transportation legislation, Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.) said he would agree to one additional highway program extension, “this being the eighth of the overdue transportation reauthorization.”
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) Chairman Dave Thomey, executive vice president of North East, Md.-based Maryland Materials Inc., lauded Obama for urging Congress to act to extend the surface transportation law now while work is being finished on a comprehensive reauthorization bill. “The president seems to have heard the chorus emanating from NSSGA’s grassroots and the grassroots of our transportation coalition partners that Congress must extend the law immediately to preserve jobs and provide certainty while work is completed on a multi-year reauthorization that, at a minimum, maintains level funding,” Thomey said in a written statement from NSSGA.
For a transcript and video of Obama’s Sept. 1, 2011, speech, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/31/remarks-president-transportation-bill-and-faa-bill-extension.