One of the fun new games we are playing in America during our morning commutes is, "Will I Make It Across This Bridge Before It Collapses?" Today, I won this game, and made sure to have a jug of Gatorade dumped over my head in celebration. But from time to time, this game is lost, because our infrastructure is crumbling. That naturally leads one to wonder if President Barack Obama has noticed this, or if he's said anything at all about how crazy it is that we don't do more to rebuild collapsing bridges.
Well, as you can see in the mashup video above, our own Ben Craw paged back through the video archive, and has basically discovered that the answer to this question is "Yes." Obama's been calling for infrastructural improvements since just about the beginning of time -- though critically, back when he was able to get a stimulus deal passed, he wasn't able to seal a deal to create a national infrastructure bank. That said, he's revived the call in subsequent public addresses and "has asked for the creation of a national infrastructure bank with initial funding of up to $30 billion in each of his budget proposals from fiscal years 2010 to 2013," according to PolitiFact.
Congress, in turn, has failed to deliver, because Congressional Republicans keep on derailing the effort. Which is why outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood begged them to reconsider their opposition:
The president has spent four years talking about infrastructure. Every speech that he gives about putting America to work, he talks about infrastructure. And I hope that since the election, people come to realize that if you really want to get America back to work and put people to work, you have to make investments in infrastructure.
There are 759 bridges in America that have worse sufficiency scores than the recently collapsed Skagit River Bridge in Washington state. Fixing them is an urgent need, which means that the probability that Congress will do something is just about nil.
I guess my advice to you all is to never drive anywhere, basically.
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