President Obama Meets with the Building America Coalition
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has estimated that the current grade of U.S. infrastructure is a “D”. The ASCE further estimated that the United States will need $2.2 trillion infrastructure investment from all levels of government and the private sectors in the next five years.
The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission has recommended significant need to increase investments in surface transportation, including a proposal to invest $225 billion over the next 50 years in order to upgrade the transportation systems needed to sustain economic growth.
Governors Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Ca.),and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY) formed a partnership in 2008 to create the Building America's Future Coalition to advocate for Federal investments in national infrastructures.
Under the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), known as the stimulus package, the state is poised to gain more than $1 million for infrastructure projects.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-NY) is in Washington D.C. for the US Conference of Mayors. He is scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House along with Governors Ed Rendell and Arnold Schwarzenegger to discuss the economic stimulus plan.
The president hosted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and two governors, Pennsylvania's Ed Rendell and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, to discuss spending on transportation infrastructure projects as a means of creating jobs.
Prior to the meeting, President Obama praises the coalition, which consists of an Independent, a Democrat, and a Republic who are three of the most innovative elected officials in the county, representing a wide range of political spectrum.
"I'm confident that with all these bright minds sitting around the table, that we're going to not only continue the progress that's been made in the Recovery Act, but we're going to be able to get a budget passed that reflects the concerns that we're hearing around the table," said President Obama prior to the meeting.
It will be Mayor Bloomberg's first meeting with the President since he took office. Mr.Bloomberg said that he plans to bring many ideas to the meeting, such as investments in public schools and to revamp transportation infrastructures. The mayor stated that his ideas are intended for New York, but it would be up to the President to determine whether or not Mr. Bloomberg's ideas are scaleable for the rest of the nation.
"This is the time to think boldly and to to bring the change about that this country needs," said the mayor. "And I think we have a new president who has the enthusiasm, the intellect, and the drive to get this done. He also understands that we all have to work together, work with Congress, and the three of us pledge that we will do everything we can to make sure he gets the support that he needs and the help."
Governor Schwarzenegger will be meeting with the President for the second day in a row since the Republican governor has enthusiastically welcomed the President in Los Angeles yesterday, on Mar.19.
Governor Schwarzenegger is the most prominent Republican who has enthusiastically backed the President on his economic stimulus place. California stands to receive about $85 billion from the economic Recovery Act, with about $7 billion earmarked for infrastructure programs. The governor's administration has outlined 57 transportation projects expected to create 11,000 jobs.
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