U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he will ask Congress for $300 billion to update aging roads and railways, arguing that the taxpayer investment is a worthy one that will pay dividends by attracting businesses and helping put people to work.
Obama announced his plan at the Union Depot rail and bus station in St. Paul, Minnesota, after touring a light rail maintenance facility. Funding for surface transportation programs expires later this year, and the White House says 700,000 jobs could be at risk unless Congress renews them.
“At a time when companies are saying they intend to hire more people this year, we need to make that decision easier for them,” Obama said, by rebuilding aging transportation systems, power grids, communications networks, and other projects that ease commerce.
“The bottom line is there’s work to be done, workers ready to do it,” the president said, adding that one of Congress’ major responsibilities is to help states and cities pay for such projects.