May 14 - President Obama says new infrastructure projects are needed to keep strengthening the U.S. economy and boost jobs. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama appeared at an aging New York bridge on Wednesday to chide the U.S. Congress for failing thus far to approve transportation legislation for urgently needed road projects. Speaking over the steady hum of traffic at the Tappan Zee bridge, about 20 miles north of New York City, Obama also said his administration plans to accelerate approvals for infrastructure projects across the country. "So today, we're releasing a new plan to apply the same strategy to other major projects all across America. We're announcing 11 more projects to accelerate, to get moving faster -- from Boston's South Station, to Pensacola Bay Bridge, to new light-rail projects north and south of Seattle," Obama said. With Congress facing a big fight on how to replenish a federal fund for road construction, Obama urged lawmakers to pass a transportation bill to pay for an estimated 112,000 highway projects and 5,600 transit projects under way this year. Without passage, work could grind to a halt, putting at risk almost 700,000 jobs in the peak summer construction season. "If they don't act by the end of the summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out," Obama said. "There will be no money, the cupboard will be bare." Obama has offered a four-year, $302-billion transport spending plan, paid for by ending some business tax breaks. But the White House has said he is open to alternative proposals to avert the looming funding crisis.