Obama Touts Infrastructure, Nat Gas in State of Union Speech
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Obama pitched a “Fix-It First” program to address the nation’s most immediate infrastructure needs and called for more use of natural gas as a transportation fuel.
The president said more infrastructure investment could address the “nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country” and proposed a “Partnership to Rebuild America” to attract private capital “to upgrade what our businesses need most, [including] modern ports to move our goods.”
He also said the U.S. “natural-gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence” and proposed using some oil and gas revenue to fund an Energy Security Trust to “drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote in his DOT blog following the speech that “fixing the country’s roads, rails, bridges, ports, transit systems and other transportation assets most in need of attention will create jobs and help our businesses compete more effectively.”
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials said in a statement released Wednesday morning that it, too, backed the president’s call for more infrastructure spending.
“AASHTO salutes President Obama for again calling for greater investment in America’s infrastructure. Now we need to work together to tackle the most pressing issue facing our transportation system — how are we going to pay for it,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO’s executive director.
Greater use of natural gas in transportation “would be a welcomed step,” said Richard Kolodziej, president of Natural Gas Vehicles of America.
“The use of natural-gas vehicles in light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty applications is rapidly growing, [and] we have been encouraged by the president’s past statements in support of natural gas vehicles,” he said in a statement, adding that “with supportive government policies, natural-gas vehicle use could grow even faster.”
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