President Barack Obama spent a great deal of time discussing the sad state of American infrastructure in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, saying that the structurally deficient nature of nearly 70,000 American bridges hurts the country’s chances at attracting business and creating new jobs.
Just days before, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told radio host Diane Rehm that “America is one big pothole.” So LaHood was very happy to hear the President spend a significant amount of his address on the subject and has written a blog post praising Obama’s proposed “Fix-it-First” program.
“President Obama knows what we at DOT also know: fixing the roads, rails, bridges, ports, transit sysyems, and other transportation assets most in need of attention will create jobs and help our businesses compete more effectively,” LaHood wrote in his post.
The program would employ workers as soon as possible to make the most urgent infrastructure repairs and would be partially funded by private capital.
LaHood announced in January that he will be stepping down from his position as soon as Obama finds a successor.
“As President Obama observed last night, the last Congress passed some of the provisions in his American Jobs Act. But we need the new Congress to pass the rest of it,” LaHood wrote.
“American businesses have added more than 6 million jobs in the past 35 months, but we can do better. The President’s plan offers steps we can take right now to create more jobs, and as he said last night, ‘The American people expect Congress to act and get the job done.'”
LaHood called for Congress to work together with the President on this initiative, saying that President Abraham Lincoln “understood that only together could our nation thrive. Only when we work together, setting aside our differences, can we solve our nation’s problems.”
“President Obama laid out a plan for doing just that in his State of the Union address.”