In New York, Obama Urges New Cash for Roads

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) -
President Barack Obama on Wednesday arrives to speak in Tarrytown, N.Y., near the Tappan Zee Bridge. (AP Photo)
President Barack Obama on Wednesday arrives to speak in Tarrytown, N.Y., near the Tappan Zee Bridge. (AP Photo)

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Obama challenged congressional Republicans to spend more money on the nation’s crumbling roads, see-through bridges and outdated ports or face losing businesses to other countries.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.).