Ahead of the release of his budget next week, President Obama on Friday, March 29, reiterated points from his State of the Union Speech that called for greater investment in the nation's transportation infrastructure during a visit to Port of Miami.
"Right now, 16,000 cars and trucks travel to and from PortMiami every day, and they're stuck going through downtown," Obama said in his speech. "And those traffic jams are bad for business. Whether you're a small business owner in South Beach or a manufacturer in Atlanta trying to get your goods overseas, that congestion wastes time and money."
Obama then outlined much of what he already revealed in February's State of the Union address and what the Senate has identified as priorities for its fiscal year 2014 budget plan, which passed about two weeks ago (see related AASHTO Journal story here). The first element to his plan is the creation of a $10 billion infrastructure bank to attract private investment in projects, focusing on projects that produce the biggest bang for their buck and that have a multi-modal element. Secondly, Obama's plan highlights funding more projects through America Fast Forward bonds, which he says will give states more flexibility in attracting private investment for public projects. Lastly, Obama wants to invest billions of additional dollars into TIGER grants and the TIFIA loan program.
These elements, Obama said, will strengthen the economy, as he referenced the correlation between strong infrastructure and economic growth and prosperity.
"You ask any CEO where they'd rather locate their business and hire new workers," Obama said. "Are you going to set up shop in a country that's got raggedy roads, runways that are pot-holed, and backed up supply chains? Or are you going to seek out high-speed rail, internet, high-tech schools, new state-of-the-art power grids, new bridges, new tunnels, new ports that help you ship products made in America to the rest of the world as fast as possible?"
The Obama Administration is expected to release its FY 2014 budget next week. The AASHTO Journal will report on the specifics in the plan in next week's edition.
A full transcript of Obama's remarks at Port of Miami is available here.