Scandalous Video: Obama Talks Sense About Road Building

You all excited to watch the presidential debate tonight? Here’s a glimpse back to 2007, when the old Barack Obama was getting us all hyped up on a sugar rush of hope and change. Check out this video, care of the conservative Daily Caller, which is making a lot of hay about some racially-charged remarks Obama made on the campaign trail back then.

The part that interests us comes at about 3:45, and it’s not the part Tucker Carlson is crowing about. It’s where then-candidate Obama says:

That’s why we need additional federal public transportation dollars going to the highest need communities. We don’t need to build more highways out in the suburbs if we have people in the cities right now who want to work but have no way to get to those jobs. We got to help connect them to the jobs that exist. We should be investing in minority-owned businesses in our neighborhoods so people don’t have to travel from miles away.

The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer took this to mean that Obama was advocating a fix-it-first strategy. But that’s not quite the way I see it – it looks to me like a more incisive critique of the way urban areas get the shaft in favor of rural and suburban areas. It’s specifically an argument for urban transit instead of suburban road-building. It’s even a rejection of job sprawl and a promotion of urban businesses where people could get to work without driving.

Wonder if he’ll bring back any of that fiery urbanist zeal tonight?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The New Way to “Screw Obama” — Poisoning Your Neighbors’ Air

|
Warning: The crazies are getting crazier. Behold the new depth to which macho car culture, blatant anti-environmentalism, and Obama hating has sunk. “Coal rollers” retrofit their pickup trucks to “trick” the diesel engines into thinking they need more gas. The result: big, billowing plumes of black smoke — the better to spew at Priuses and […]

Obama Dismisses Gas Tax “Gimmick”

|
With primaries in North Carolina and Indiana less than a week out, Barack Obama seems to have taken Streetsbloggers’ advice with this ad explaining why a suspension of the federal gas tax, as called for by Hillary Clinton and John McCain (among others), is a sham. It’s a masterful spot: the swelling orchestral score, the […]

Obama’s Politically Impossible Transpo Plan Is Just What America Needs

|
It may be “seven years too late,” as tactical urbanist Mike Lydon put it, but President Obama has released a transportation proposal that calls for big shifts in the country’s spending priorities. Obama’s proposal would generate $30 billion annually from a $10-per-barrel surcharge assessed on oil companies. More importantly, the revenue is linked to a substantial shift in what transportation projects get […]

President Obama’s Hollow Push for Infrastructure Investment

|
This afternoon, President Obama stood by New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge and made a speech pressing Congress to do something about infrastructure investment. It’s part of his Infrastructure Week push for Congress to pass a fully funded transportation reauthorization bill. Many other groups are spending this week sounding the same horn. “If they don’t act […]