Tuesday, February 10, 2009

President’s Town Meeting Today Highlights Importance of Transit Infrastructure Spending

President Obama at his Town Hall meeting today in Florida.

President Barack Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd in Ft. Myers, FL today and emphasized why he believes federal spending on transit and other infrastructure projects is important to the nation’s economic health. Here are excerpts.

We have targeted billions of dollars in infrastructure spending, and states all across the country are going through what Florida’s going through.... We get a D for infrastructure all across the country. We saw what happened in Minneapolis where a bridge collapsed and resulted in tragedy. 

Not only do we need to rebuild our roads and our bridges, our ports, our levees, our dams, but we also have to plan for the future. This is the same example of turning crisis into opportunity. This should be a wakeup call for us….

This is America. We always had the best infrastructure. We’ve always been willing to invest in the future…. Transportation, when it is not just fixing our old transportation systems, but it’s also imagining new transportation systems. That’s why I’d like to see high-speed rail where it can be constructed. 

I would like for us to invest in mass transit because potentially that’s energy-efficient. And I think people are a lot more open now to thinking regionally in terms of how we plan our transportation infrastructure. The days when we’re just building sprawl forever — those days are over. I think Republicans, Democrats, everyone recognizes that that’s not a smart way to design communities. So we should be using this money to help spur this kind of innovative thinking when it comes to transportation.

The entire 64-minute appearance is available at C-SPAN.

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