President Barack Obama signed a transportation funding bill Friday that authorizes over $100 billion in federal transportation spending. Obama made clear, however, that more needs to be done to spur economic growth.
The bill, which passed both houses with bipartisan support, funds road construction projects throughout in every state.
“This bill will keep thousands of construction workers on the job rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure,” Obama said in remarks at the ceremony.
The bill also included a provision that keeps interest rates on student loans from doubling over the next year, avoiding rate hikes on 7.5 million Americans. In addition, the bill extends federal flood insurance projects.
The bill will create 1 million jobs and save 1.8 million existing jobs that would have been lost without continued funding.
The transportation bill represents a rare bipartisan agreement in an increasingly polarized Washington. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica, R-Fla., appeared at the signing ceremony, along with Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
In a statement, Mica said that he was pleased with bill’s passage.
“This bill will provide a major boost to our economy by putting Americans back to work building our nationís bridges and highways,” said Mica.
The bill was also praised by labor, which said the bill was a job-creator.
“By signing this bill, President Obama shows that he is continuing to stand up for good, middle-class jobs and affordable education for all Americans,” said United Steel Workers International President†Leo W. Gerard in a statement. “Rebuilding our transportation infrastructure means we are creating jobs, we are supporting manufacturing, and we are keeping pace with our global competitors.”
While Obama was pleased with the bill’s passage, he made clear that more needs to be done to spur economic growth. In his weekly radio address, the President said, “Make no mistake: we’ve got more to do.”
Obama added, “The construction industry was hit brutally hard when the housing bubble burst.† So itís not enough to just keep construction workers on the job doing projects that were already underway.” He called on Congress to pass legislation to invest more in the country’s infrastructure.
Image Credit: K. David Clark