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Statement in response to President Obama’s call for transportation investment in the State of the Union address

Responding to President Obama’s call to steer new revenue toward “rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes”, Transportation for America Director James Corless issued this statement:

“President Obama is doing the nation a great service by bringing attention to the urgent need to provide our communities with the resources to build and repair the infrastructure our prosperity depends on. As he said, ‘In today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.’


As the President will note in trips to Nashville, Pittsburgh and other communities this week, can-do communities are leading the way with innovative, cost-effective investment strategies, with projects designed to sustain economic growth while improving quality of life. It is critical that they succeed: These centers of commerce are the building blocks of our nation’s economy, and if they grind to a halt, so will the country as a whole. But they can’t solve these issues of national urgency alone.


In calling for greater investment in transportation the President joins the chairs of two key infrastructure committees, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who have shown great leadership in working across the aisle to raise awareness of the need to save our federal transportation fund from insolvency and make crucial investments for America’s future. They, in turn, are echoing what we are hearing from local elected, business and civic leaders around the country, who are all but begging for a robust federal partner to help them get workers to jobs and goods to market.


The President, the committee chairs, and local leaders are right: We absolutely must put more money into fixing and modernizing our infrastructure, or watch it crumble along with our economic prosperity. And just as importantly, we have to get those resources into the hands of the local communities that will drive our economic success.”


  1. Daniel Connelly

    10 years ago

    As long as federal transportation spending goes through Congress, it will always be driven by pork rather than the effective allocation of resources to addressing our transportation needs. I would love to know even a single success story of federal transportation spending on a large scale, unless you count the interstate highway system, on whose success we would disagree.

  2. Isaiah J. Poole

    10 years ago

    I can name one “success story of federal transportation spending on a large scale” right off the top of my head: the Washington Metro public transit system. It is the second most-used transit system in the country, and without it traffic in the Washington region would be in almost continual gridlock. The system has driven economic development and job-creation throughout the region, and in particular has anchored revitalization of once-blighted Washington neighborhoods. People can and do complain about Metro service glitches, but those flaws shouldn’t distract from the larger story of how a federal-regional partnership can work together to pool resources in ways that don’t simply serve the Washington region but every person who visits Washington or is served by a federal employee who can get to and from work more easily because the Metro exists. I don’t know where Daniel Connelly lives, but if I did I am sure I could in no time identify a similar success story in his community. Federal transportation policy can be better – but it is already doing a lot of good.

  3. James Kennedy

    10 years ago

    I wish everything the federal government did was like the Metro, but my concern with these types of speeches is that what’s really meant by infrastructure is still mostly highways. The president has been better on maintaining a balance between transit/bikes vs. cars than some other politicians, but I still think his approach overall is lacking.