Obama plans $50bn spend on transport to win votes
Investment one of many to be announced on campaign trail
Published 07/09/2010 | 05:00
President Barack Obama unveiled a $50bn (€38.8bn) plan to expand and renew roads, railways and airports yesterday in an attempt to boost confidence in the economy and prevent the Democratic Party from suffering a heavy defeat in forthcoming elections.
The plan is one of several economic initiatives Mr Obama is due to unveil this week, when campaigning begins in earnest for the November 2 mid-term elections.
Speaking in Wisconsin on the Labour Day holiday, which marks the end of summer in the United States, the president proposed building 150,000 miles of roads, constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of rail and renovating 150 miles of runway, as well as modernising the air traffic control system.
He also proposed setting up an infrastructure bank to co-ordinate private, state and local capital to invest in projects.
A senior administration official said the president's goal was to "create a substantial number of jobs in the short term and lay the foundation for jobs growth in the long run".
The plan, which needs the approval of Congress, would spend $50bn in the first of its six years, and would be financed by ending tax breaks for oil companies, the official said.
Through the next eight weeks of campaigning, Mr Obama will argue that Democratic policies brought the economy back to life and produced some economic growth, even if it had been slower than everyone had hoped for.
Democrats are facing an angry electorate that could end their four-year majority in Congress. Many experts and polls indicate that they could lose control of the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate, which would make it much harder for the president to advance his agenda on issues such as immigration and climate legislation.
Mr Obama and his advisers will continue to warn voters that Republicans would bring back ideas that propelled the country into the deepest recession in 70 years.
"It took years to create our economic problems, and it'll take more time than any of us would like to fully repair the damage," said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director.
In another speech in Ohio tomorrow, Mr Obama will announce tax credits for research and development, which the White House projects would cost $100bn (€78bn) over 10 years. It would be financed by ending some corporate tax breaks.
He will also recommend extending middle-class tax cuts, investing in clean energy, and delivering more tax cuts to businesses to encourage hiring. (© Daily Telegraph, London)