Transportation in the State of the Union Address

(Photo: Matt H. Wade / Wikipedia)(Photo: Matt H. Wade / Wikipedia)

If you think the State of the Union address is just another speech, think again.

The State of the Union address, which President Obama will deliver Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, is the perfect opportunity for workers in the transportation industry to hear about how our highways and infrastructure are faring and what the president plans to do to improve them.

Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said in a written statement that he wants Obama to highlight infrastructure investment in the speech.

“One important area of common ground and perhaps the single most critical economic investment we can make is to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure,” Delaney said. “I look forward to the President shining a spotlight on the importance of infrastructure this evening.”

Delaney has authored the Partnership to Build America Act (H.R. 2084), a bill that creates a $50 billion infrastructure fund that can be leveraged to $750 billion. In a January 23 letter to Obama, the Associated General Contractors of America (ACG) urged the White House to support the bill and to address the growing infrastructure deficit in the State of the Union address.

Citing The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, which graded our nation’s infrastructure with a D+ and estimated that the nation’s infrastructure is headed toward a $1.6 trillion deficit in 2020, ACG said in its letter:

“I urge you to provide workable revenue options to avoid the upcoming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The HTF is a successful funding mechanism that should be strengthened by increasing revenue to meet current and future transportation needs. Without sustained investment in our surface transportation infrastructure, U.S. businesses will pay an added $430 billion in transportation costs, household incomes will fall by more than $7,000 and our exports will fall by $28 billion by 2020.”

“As you address Congress and the Nation next week and work to finalize your administration’s budget for 2015, AGC encourages you to offer workable and rational proposals to help provide long-term sustainable funding sources, while encouraging greater private sector investment in our nation’s infrastructure.”

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) noted that it anticipates the president to discuss three main points regarding transportation: opportunity, action, and optimism. In addition to those main points, the DOT also expects Obama to offer potential solutions.

As you watch the State of the Union tonight, be sure to look for slides, charts and other visuals to accompany the speech at If you’re nowhere near a television, you can watch the address there as well.