The Planning Debate Referenced in Obama's 'Bombshell' Speech

Conservative news outlets are recirculating a controversial speech made by President Obama in 2007, highlighting his remark that "We don’t need to build more highways out in the suburbs." Brad Plumer looks at the policy implications of his statement.
October 4, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With the Daily Caller, and several other conservative news outlets, calling attention to Obama's remarks on transportation policy contained in the speech, Plumer discusses the bipartisan arguments supporting the President's brief remarks. 

"Many transportation experts, both liberal and conservative, have been arguing against building more highways out into the suburbs for years. The idea is that we should generally focus our dollars on fixing and upgrading existing infrastructure rather than continuing to build sprawling new roads."

"Yet as president, Obama has pushed his preferred approach only halfheartedly - his American Jobs Act proposal contained about $50 billion in infrastructure spending, of which a good chunk, $27 billion, would go toward 'rebuilding roads and bridges.'...More generally, the highway bill that Obama signed didn't do much to shift funding from suburban highways to inner-city transit."

"In any case," concludes Plumer, "this all might be reading too much into what Obama meant by his line. But there's a strong policy case that we could stand to build fewer new highways out to the suburbs, at least for the time being."


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Published on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 in The Washington Post
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