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President Obama Urges Congress to Put Construction Workers Back on the Job


Using Washington, D.C.’s Key Bridge as a backdrop, yesterday President Obama urged Congress to pass the transportation piece of the American Jobs Act, which will make an immediate investment of $50 billion in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and a $10 billion investment to create a bipartisan National Infrastructure Bank.

Together, these initiatives will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, rails, and runways. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, the Key Bridge is in need of crucial repairs and maintenance work. In order to ensure the bridge remains both safe and functional well into the future, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) proposed a $20 million project to rehabilitate and repair critical portions of the bridge. However, the city is deferring this maintenance to 2015 due to a lack of funds.

If Congress passes this bill, DDOT could make these important repairs more quickly, as soon as 2013. “Construction workers have been among the Americans hit hardest over the past few years. And that makes no sense when there's so much of America that needs rebuilding. This week, Congress has the chance to do something about it and pass a bill that will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports and transit systems. It's a bill that includes the kinds of ideas both parties have voted for in the past, it's paid for, and its ideas are supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people. It’s time for Congress to act,” said President Obama.

Yesterday the White House also released a report highlighting the importance of rebuilding our roads, bridges, railways, and airports across the nation. The report states, “In order to meet the needs of a growing economy, there is an ongoing need for new investments to maintain, upgrade, and expand the nation’s stock of transportation infrastructure.”

PCA’s manager of transportation structures, Sue Lane, PE, M. ASCE, attend the event and had the opportunity to discuss the new replacement concrete bridge for I-35W in Minneapolis with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).   “Infrastructure is neither Democratic nor Republican.  It simply needs to be fixed and upgraded,” Lane said. “With nearly one in four bridges deficient in some way, the time for investment is now.  We cannot afford to wait.”

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