Today’s presidential Youtube video demonstrates the kind of commitment we’ve been waiting for from the future Obama Administration:
“Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.”
Though we here at the transport politic are a little upset that Mr. Obama is not mentioning transit or high-speed rail programs directly, the message being given from other parts of the future Administration – notably from Joe Biden – implies that much of this money will in fact go to non-automobile-based transportation.
Keep in mind that the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, which authorized the Eisenhower Interstate System, authorized $25 billion for roads over a 20-year period. That initial estimate ended up being wrong; the program’s eventual cost was $114 billion ($425 in 2006 dollars). If we see an investment like that – and if we make sure it doesn’t just go to “roads and bridges” – we’ll be in good shape.
We remain optimistic here. As more information about Mr. Obama’s bill comes up, we’ll update you.