President Obama, from the Fort Myers town hall meeting on February 10, 2009:
â€œWell the ehâ€¦we have target billions of dollar at infrastructure spending. And states all across the country are going through what Florida is going through. There was a study done by the American Association of Engineersâ€¦ that might not be the exact title, but engineers from all across the country… we get a D in infrastructure all across the country… This should be a wake-up call for us.
You go to Shanghai, China right nowâ€¦ and they’ve got high-speed rail that puts our railroads to shame…
Now look, this is America. We always had the best infrastructure. We were always willing to invest in the future. Governor Christ mentioned Abraham Lincoln. In the middle of the Civil War, in the midst of all this danger and peril, what did he do? He helped move the intercontinental railroad. He helped to start land grant colleges. He understood that even when you are in the middle of crisis, you got to keep your eye on the future. So transportation, when it is not just fixing our old transportation systems, but it’s also imagining new transportation systems. That’s why I’d like to see high speed rail where it can be constructed. I would like for us to invest in mass transit, because potentially that’s energy efficient.
And I think people a lot more people are open now to thinking regionally in terms of how we plan our transportation infrastructure. The days where we’re just building sprawl foreverâ€¦ those days are over. I think that Republicans, Democratsâ€¦ everybody recognizes that that’s not a smart way to design communities. So we should be using this money to help spur this kind of innovative thinking when it comes to transportation. That’ll make a big difference.â€
Photo of Tram in Strasbourg, France by McIvory.