Obama to push road and bridge repair

McClatchy Washington BureauJuly 14, 2014 

A bridge on the way to New York City.

TISH WELLS — McClatchy

With a trust fund for highway repair about to sputter out, President Obama will spend the week pushing for increased investment in infrastructure, the White House said.

Obama, who has used his executive authority to speed up permitting for priority projects, will announce futher executive actions on infrastructure this week, the White House said.

Congress this week will consider a way to avoid a lapse in funding of the Highway Trust Fund, which is now scheduled to go insolvent as early as August, and the White House said Obama "will continue to urge Republican lawmakers to not block it."

House and Senate committees last week approved plans to shore up the foundering highway trust fund through next May, though several business groups have told lawmakers they want a longer-term solution by the end of this year.

The Council of Economic Advisors and National Economic Council will issue a report Monday on the long-term economic benefits of transportation investment and "why conditions in the infrastructure sector are ripe for innovation, with new technologies and approaches promising significant gains in productivity, efficiency, and resilience."

Obama will deliver remarks on investing in infrastructure innovation at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va. on Tuesday. The center is a leading facility testing new technologies for highway transportation innovations.

He will visit an infrastructure site in Delaware on Thursday, where he will announce a new initiative, "using his pen and his phone," to increase private sector investment.

The White House says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Monday will join Senator Rockefeller, Congressman Rahall and WVDOT Transportation Secretary Mattox for a press conference at the Yeager Airport Bridge Replacement Project in Charleston, West Virginia.

Foxx will tour the bridge and then hold a press conference, focusing on the state’s transportation needs and the potential impact on West Virginia if the Highway Trust Fund becomes insolvent later this summer. Foxx also will speak at the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation’s West Virginia Transportation and Infrastructure summit.

The White House on Monday also will release a transportation map allowing Americans to learn more about the condition of their state's roads and bridges -- as well as how many jobs – nearly 700,000 across the nation -- and active highway and transit projects the White House says would be jeopardized if Congress fails to pass a new transportation bill before the current one expires September 30.

Users also will be able to submit their own photos and descriptions to illustrate the state of the roads, bridges, and traffic in their local communities.


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