President announces transportation, job initiatives during St. Paul stop

By KBJR News 1

February 26, 2014 Updated Feb 26, 2014 at 7:50 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - President Obama traveled to Minnesota Wednesday to call on congress to make major investments in transportation infrastructure. The $300 billion dollar plan aims to put people back to work and modernize the way we travel.

The president laid out his two–tier vision at the newly renovated historic Union Depot,a success story of the president's first round of transportation grants in 2010.

He says he wants to keep the momentum going, before it's too late.

"One of the fastest and best ways to create new jobs is by rebuilding America's infrastructure. (applause) Our roads, our bridges, our rails, our ports, our airports, our schools, our power grids. We got a lot to do out there and we have got to put our folks to work," President Obama said.

Funding for many transportation projects is due to expire in August putting current projects and hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

The president's proposal calls for investments to improve the safety of highways, bridges and railways.

One part requests $300 billion to lock in another four years of stable funding for transportation.

The other: $600 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery or TIGER grants to fund projects that create jobs.

"We've got ports that aren't ready for the next generation of super tankers, we've got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare. Everybody knows, and nobody knows better than Minnesotans, when we've gone through a winter like this, roads are wrecked full of potholes all across the country, said President Obama.

The president is proposing to pay for half of his plan with tax reforms, but says he's open to other ideas.

The event at the Union Depot drew a crowd of 1,300 people, including MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle and the Chair of the Minnesota Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, Sen. Scott Dibble.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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