At a closed commuter artery in Delaware, President Obama accused congressional Republicans Thursday of playing politics with highway funding and causing delays in needed road repairs.
“Infrastructure should not be a partisan issue,” Mr. Obama said in Wilmington, near the site of a bridge repair project on I-495. “I’m not going to stand by when politics and inaction are holding us back.”
With the federal highway trust fund nearly depleted, Mr. Obama announced that he is issuing another executive order to create a federal investment center to encourage private capital investment in transportation projects. The center will be run by the Department of Transportation.
Congress is working on a short-term solution to the funding crisis, but the president said the proposed legislation would only pay for about nine more months of highway repairs.
“Congress shouldn’t be too proud, it shouldn’t be patting itself on the back for kicking the can down the road every few months,” Mr. Obama said. “A few months of funding doesn’t cut it.”
The president has proposed a $302 billion long-term highway funding plan, but lawmakers haven’t taken up the proposal.
The span on I-495 carries about 90,000 vehicles per day. It has been closed since last month due to structural damage, but repairs are ahead of schedule, in spite of the government’s dwindling highway fund.