Obama Falls Prey to Ribbon-Cutting Syndrome

obama_construction_workers_300x194.jpgObama greets construction workers at a DC photo op. Photo: AFP via Infrastructurist.

At a press event in DC yesterday, President Obama touted the two thousandth transportation project to receive federal stimulus funds. I’m speculating a bit here, but the White House probably had some discretion when choosing which item to highlight for this milestone. So did they pick a refurbished transit station? A new bike route? Perhaps a bridge repair project to signal that we’re not going to repeat the mistakes that led to the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis?

None of the above. The same president who proclaimed the days of building sprawl to be over boasted about the widening of a highway interchange near Portage, Michigan from four lanes to six. Obama, apparently, isn’t immune to ribbon-cutting syndrome: Like many other elected officials, he can’t resist associating himself with a hefty road expansion project.

In this case, the president didn’t have the interchange itself as a backdrop, but he did surround himself with construction workers for the cameras. I’m still looking forward to the day when bus drivers get to serve as stage props too.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bloomberg to Obama: Stimulus Aid Should Go Directly to Cities

|
A face-to-face back in April. Photo: Scoop08. Yesterday the President-elect unveiled the broad strokes of his economic recovery plan at a DC press event, and Mayor Bloomberg was there to give his response. Bloomberg’s message is critical for the prospects of green transportation in the upcoming stimulus package. Here’s the abbreviated version via Liz Benjamin […]

Is the Stimulus Working For Cities? Not So Much, Mayors Say

|
As the Obama administration today faced new criticism of its methods for tracking jobs created or saved by the $787 billion stimulus law, a bipartisan quartet of mayors was weighing in at the Brookings Institution about the recovery effort’s impact on their local economies. As budget cuts hit Florida’s Tri-Rail line, shown here, the state […]

Obama Endorses Pricing as “Thoughtful and Innovative”

|
Last month Barack Obama released details of a vaguely encouraging transportation platform, pledging investment in rail and "livable communities." Today the Democratic presidential candidate endorsed congestion pricing. In town for a speech and fundraising events, Obama was introduced at Cooper Union by Mayor Bloomberg this morning. WNYC reports: Speaking not far from Wall Street, Barack […]

White House Backs $50B For ‘Merit-Based Infrastructure Investment’

|
President Obama today threw his weight behind significant new transportation spending as part of a broad jobs bill taking shape in Congress, with $50 billion slated for transit, roads, bridges, and ports and the administration endorsing "merit-based infrastructure investment that leverages federal dollars." President Obama gave a high-profile jobs speech today. (Photo: NYT) During his […]

Behind President Obama’s Call For More Infrastructure Projects

|
Tomorrow night, President Obama will unveil his jobs plan before a skeptical Congress. It’s unclear how much of the $300 billion proposal will go to infrastructure, but the president has said that will be a centerpiece of the proposal. An infrastructure bank and a new version of the expired Build America Bonds program could also […]