Categorized | Senate News Briefing

Obama Trip To Bridge “Latest Prop” For Stimulus Tour; It’s “Not Shovel Ready”; Cincy Enquirer: “Obama Visit Won’t Build New Bridge”

Reuters reports today, “A dilapidated bridge over the Ohio River becomes the latest prop in President Barack Obama’s push for jobs on Thursday as he takes a campaign for more spending into the backyard of his political foes. The Brent Spence Bridge, connecting the home states of the two top Republicans in Congress, is a vital traffic route between northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio. Republicans have mocked Obama’s trip as political theater. But the 830-foot bridge has been officially designated as ‘functionally obsolete’ and Obama hopes it will help him illustrate why Congress should back billions of dollars in job-creating infrastructure investment.”

 

Yet locals are seeing the visit for the politically motivated “photo-op” that it is. WKRC-TV, the Cincinnati CBS affiliate, notes, “Since the presidential visit was announced last week, there have been complaints that it’s more about politics, and getting votes in next year’s election.” Yesterday, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported, “The fact that the Brent Spence Bridge sits squarely between the home states of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is not just a coincidence — it’s the reason for the president’s visit on Thursday, a White House spokesman said.” An Enquirer headline this morning says of the bridge, “It’s prop for jobs bill.” It further refers to the bill as “a nice backdrop for a speech” and points to transportation expert Joshua Schank calling the speech as a “photo-op in a presidential election season . . . .” Even NBC News’ Chuck Todd acknowledged, “[T]he setting is what the White House cares about,” and correspondent Kristen Welker agreed: “It’s all about the setting right now . . . . The president’s going to use it as a backdrop to try to sell his jobs plan . . . .” Welker then held up the front page of The Cincinnati Enquirer, which reads, “Obama visit won’t build new bridge.”

 

In the story, The Enquirer explains, “A presidential visit is a big deal, but will it actually guarantee funding for the aged and overused Brent Spence Bridge? Not really, say transportation experts and highway officials. That’s not how highway funding works. . . . First, there’s the president’s jobs bill, which is the reason for his trip. In his joint address to Congress on Sept. 8, Obama called on Congress to immediately pass his plan. But the bill has received a lukewarm reception on the Hill, where even Democrats haven’t rallied around it. The bill itself contains no mention of the Brent Spence bridge, or any other specific projects. Even if the bill is passed, it’s not clear funding included in the bill for stimulus or the creation of a national infrastructure bank would ever reach the bridge.” And Joshua Schank, “CEO of the Eno Transportation Foundation and an urban planner who has been working on federal and state transportation policy for the last decade,” told The Enquirer, “No, I don’t see (the president’s visit) getting funding for the bridge. . . . Where they do the photo-op in a presidential election season usually doesn’t have much value in terms of directing the money.”

 

The White House even admitted to The Enquirer that money for the bridge isn’t guaranteed in the president’s stimulus bill. “‘No, no, no. It doesn’t name (the bridge),’ Pfeiffer said, explaining that the money would go to states and communities to use as they see fit.”

 

Fox 19 in Ohio published a story yesterday titled, “Reality Check: Someone needs to tell the President the Brent Spence Bridge is not shovel ready.” The story points out, “Even if 100 percent of the funding was in place, meaning the Feds picked up the tab for the entire project, the Brent Spence project is still, at minimum, 4 years away from breaking ground. That is because federal environmental studies are still not complete. . . . Remember when the President referred to the last stimulus projects saying they ‘weren’t as shovel ready as he had hoped?’ Well, this may be another example of the same problem. A bridge that needs replacement but has more than just a funding problem.” And even former Democrat Ohio Governor Ted Strickland agreed on Fox & Friends this morning when Gretchen Carlson noted that people say “that bridge does not even qualify as a shovel ready project.”

 

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said this morning, “[T]he purpose of this visit is clear: The President’s plan is to go out to this bridge and say that if only lawmakers in Washington would pass his second stimulus bill ‘right away’, then bridges like this one would get fixed — and that the only thing standing in the way of repairing them is people like me.”

 

He responded to the president, saying, “First, I find it hard to take the President’s message all that seriously when his own Communications Director is over at the White House telling people he’s no longer interested in legislative compromise; and when the leaders of the President’s own party in Congress are treating this bill like an afterthought. We’d be more inclined to look at this so-called jobs bill if the President’s own staff and the members of his own party in Congress started taking it a little more seriously themselves. Second, I’d remind the President that the people of Kentucky and Ohio have heard this kind of thing before. Don’t forget: the President made the same promises when he was selling his first stimulus. . . . [T]wo and a half years later, what do we have to show for it: politically-connected companies like Solyndra ended up with hundreds of millions in taxpayer-backed money, and bridges like the one the President’s at today still need to be fixed.”

 

Leader McConnell concluded, “So I would suggest, Mr. President, that you think about ways to actually help the people of Kentucky and Ohio, instead of how you can use their roads and bridges as a backdrop for making a political point

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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