With New York’s aging Tappan Zee Bridge looming behind him, President Barack Obama challenged congressional Republicans to spend more money on the nation’s crumbling roads, see-through bridges and outdated ports or face losing businesses to other countries.
“We’ve got ports that aren’t ready for the next generation of cargo ships,” Obama said against a backdrop of cranes that are being used to replace the 58-year-old Tappan Zee. “We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare.”
Obama used the major Hudson River crossing point to illustrate a fast-track system he initiated that he said cut the permitting time from five years to 1½ years.
Republicans called Obama hypocritical since his administration has yet to decide the fate of a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.
“It’s a real challenge to listen to the president talk about reforming the permitting system when he’s been sitting on the permit for the country’s largest shovel-ready infrastructure program, the Keystone XL pipeline, for five years,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).