May 16, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Tarrytown, NY—President Obama spoke with the Tappan Zee Bridge to his back on Wednesday as he called on Congress to move on infrastructure spending as China and Europe surpass the United States in public spending. Congressman Jerrold Nadler and TWU Local 100’s Earl Phillips agreed with the President. WATCH VIDEO OF PRESIDENT OBAMA
Mr. Obama was in Tarrytown, NY to warn that unless Congressional Republicans fund the soon-to-expire Highway Trust Fund, projects around the country employing hundreds of thousands of people will stop and consequently lay workers off at a time when the official unemployment rate still hovers above 6 percent.
“If they don’t act by the end of the summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out. The cupboard will be bear. Nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year,” said Obama.
Indeed, while the politics over the spending of public money in the United States rages in order to put more people back to work, China is surpassing the US in infrastructure spending.
“China invests four times as much as we do in transportation. One study recently found we’ve fallen to 19th place when it comes to the quality of our infrastructure. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like America being 19th. I want us to be first when in comes to infrastructure,” Obama said.
While the US is struggling to build-out high-speed rail, China is now, 10 years after building their own high-speed rail network, are now exporting their rail technology to Eastern Europe and Africa.
In an interview, we asked Congressman Jerry Nadler why is it so difficult for the United States to spend big on infrastructure to put more people back to work.
“I’m not sure whether they [Congressional Republicans] really believe that government should just do less or whether they just don’t want the economy to improve under a Democratic government, or both,” said Nadler.
In another interview, TWU Local 100’s Earl Phillips said it was important to hear from the President more spending on infrastructure and transportation to help create more jobs.
“Today is a very important day for transportation. Infrastructure brings good jobs for working people and helps rebuild the United States,” said Phillips.