Pres. Obama’s Bridge to No Jobs

“Pass this bill now”

“This jobs bill puts construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and modernizing our schools”

President Obama said this during his jobs “plan” speech. Today he traveled to a bridge between Ohio and Kentucky to claim that his jobs plan must be passed so bridges like that one can be repaired. The problem is, this trip is purely political.

The selection of this bridge – between the home states of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – was based purely on its location and not on its need for funding. While the White House claimed the bridge was chosen from a “long list,” it’s clear it was chosen for a political backdrop. During his speech, President Obama joked it was purely a coincidence. That list includes 70,000 bridges that are also declared “structurally deficient,” as this one was. How convenient that it happens to end in a swing state and cross between two major rivals’ states.

Consider the fact that there are 30 “structurally deficient” right in Washington, D.C. That is 30 percent of D.C. bridges. Why do D.C. bridges matter? Because taxpayers just spent thousands of dollars to send President Obama and his team more than 500 miles away to a bridge in Ohio when he could have taken a cheaper trip to a bridge here in D.C. It’s also important to note that while the President was giving the speech in Ohio (right next to Speaker Boehner’s district), the bridge is actually owned by Kentucky. Minor overlook, right?

The Cincinnati Enquirer was also skeptical of the President’s visit. They write that even though the President claims his jobs bill will create jobs right now (remember shovel-ready?), and he that there is “plenty of construction waiting to get done in this country,” this bridge is not even shovel-ready.

Even if they immediately get the $2.4 billion needed to replace the bridge, there are environmental regulations that the project needs to wade through. The bridge has actually been planned for the past decade. Just having the money available won’t start the project. President Obama makes it seem like a snap of the fingers. Due to those environmental regulations the best case scenario for this project to start is 2015. That’s not shovel-ready. The spending for this bill will add to our deficits now, but the jobs won’t be created for years.

Not only that, but this bridge is considered “structurally deficient,” while there’s a bridge between Kentucky and Indiana that is completely shut down because of cracks in its support beams that the President could have championed. He did mention it in his speech today, but wouldn’t it have been a better backdrop? A bridge that literally needs repairs right now?

He keeps saying that this jobs plan is about jobs and not politics. But when all of his campaign – I mean, promotional tour – stops are in swing states where his approval rating is falling, it’s hard to imagine there is anything but politics in this plan. Especially when the jobs won’t even be created for years to come, if at all.

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