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Obama Urges States to Focus on Infrastructure

Despite recent state actions to counter the federal government's efforts, President Barack Obama has called on the nation's governors to make infrastructure projects a priority.
March 3, 2011, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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He has urged the governors to focus on maintaining and improving critical infrastructure, arguing that ignoring infrastructure "makes no sense".

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich -- all newly elected Republicans -- have rejected a combined $3.6 billion in federal funds for commuter rail projects in recent months. Those governors had argued that even with the federal aid, their states might have been on the hook for billions if the projects weren't successful.

Those decisions undermined the White House's agenda, which includes passenger rail as a high priority. In his proposed budget, Obama called for $8 billion in 2012 and $53 billion over six years for passenger rail projects. The president's goal is to provide 80 percent of Americans which access to high-speed passenger rail systems in the next 25 years.

Obama said it "makes no sense" to give up on infrastructure projects, and they are key to helping the country remain competitive."

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Published on Monday, February 28, 2011 in Governing
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