Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde and Pres. Obama

I’m going to have a to go along with Mark on this one.

According to Mark Szakonyi writing in The Journal of Commerce, “There are two President Obamas when it comes to infrastructure spending.”

The president has continued to talk about his commitment to a stronger transportation infrastructure and to showcase his awareness that it is this strength that is key to having a competitive America on the world stage.

He’s also talked about how transportation infrastructure work creates jobs–lots of them.

But the actions that are supposed to speak louder than words haven’t really been there. Think back to “The Stimulus,” where, wit the President outspoken on the job-creating power of road and bridge work, only a fraction of the billions made available went to transportation infrastructure.

We have not seen adequate funding come from Washington and I don’t think many of us expect it when MAP-21 is renewed next year (or whenever). I think we do understand that funding is hard to come by. But it is not impossible to come by. It simply needs political will to pay for something essential to most Americans and the country as a whole. It’s not favoritism or a political program. It’s a road; it’s a bridge, for heaven’s sake.

Szakonyi is talking primarily about ports in his article, but the same imbalance between words and deeds exists there too.

Extolling the virtues of of transportation infrastructure funding is a political coin we can invest in. Failing to provide it, or make a really serious attempt to provide it, is the flip side.

Perhaps we should keep in mind that Stevenson’s novel did not have a happy ending.