TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama visited the Tappan Zee Bridge on Wednesday and announced a series of measures aimed at improving the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
During a speech along the banks of the Hudson River, Obama touted his administration’s fast-tracking of the bridge, which is now under construction to replace the Tappan Zee, and then announced a plan to speed up 11 other infrastructure projects in cities including Boston, Pensacola, Fla., and Seattle.
“We’re cutting bureaucratic red tape that stalls good projects from breaking ground,” Obama said.
The president also said he plans to launch a new national permitting center to implement reforms and create a “public dashboard” so that Americans can track the progress of infrastructure projects. He said none of the measures require approval from Congress.
“We can build better, and we have to,” Obama said. ‘We have ports that aren’t ready for the next generation of cargo ships. We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare. We’ve got leaky pipes that lose billions of gallons of drinking water every single day, even as we’ve got a severe drought in much of the West. Nearly half our people don’t have access to transit at all. And I don’t have to tell you what some of our airports look like.”
The president said poor infrastructure could take a toll on the nation’s economy as companies decide where to locate facilities.