As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama to Tout Jobs Project that isn’t Shovel-Ready

UPDATE: I thought you might want to see this piece I wrote last week in case you missed it, since it pertains to today’s trip. Originally published last Friday.

President Obama next week will make a publicity pitch for his American Jobs Act at a site where work is not scheduled to begin until 2014 at the earliest.

Obama plans an appearance at the site of the Brent-Spence Bridge, which connects Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky. The bridge is too small for the number of cars and trucks that need to cross it each day and must be replaced. But the project is still in the planning stages and cannot possibly fulfill the American Jobs Act’s intent of creating new work as fast as possible.

Failure to fund shovel-ready projects is one of the chief criticisms of Obama’s $826 billion 2009 stimulus measure.

But the political effect of Obama’s planned appearance is much more clear, humiliating both Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by highlighting an urgent infrastructure project that is in McConnell’s state and very close to Boehner’s district.

Obama has been accused of using the Jobs Act – which is paid for by tax increases the White House knows Republicans will never accept – as more of a political tool than a jobs program.

According to a report Thursday in the Cincinnati Enquirer, officials have not even selected a design for the new bridge.

Preliminary engineering and design are nearly finished, a lead planner said Tuesday, and public hearings are set for February.

At the hearings, officials will present two proposals to revamp a 7.8-mile stretch of the Interstate 75 corridor and three proposed designs for a new double-decker bridge over the Ohio River.

A website devoted to the project states that construction will begin in either 2014 or 2015.

And yet Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clearly linked Obama’s appearance at the bridge to the Jobs Act.

On Thursday, September 22nd, the President will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, to deliver remarks at the Brent-Spence Bridge, urging Congress to pass the American Jobs Act now, so that we can make much-needed investments in infrastructure projects across the country and put more Americans back to work.  The Brent-Spence Bridge is on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America, yet it is considered “functionally obsolete” because it is in need of so many significant repairs.  If Congress passes the American Jobs Act, we can put more Americans back to work, while getting repairs like this one done.

But the bridge project won’t put anyone back to work for at least two years, and probably more given the usual delays associated with such endeavors.

Carney’s contention that Brent-Spence Bridge is “functionally obsolete” because it needs “so many significant repairs” is also inaccurate. Actually, the bridge is structurally sound but is classified as “functionally obsolete” by the National Bridge Inventory because it does not have enough lanes for the traffic it must bear and has no space for emergency shoulders.

Carney denied Thursday that Obama was traveling to the site for political purposes.

A big shout out to a few astute commenters on a previous article who alerted me that the bridge isn’t ready for prime time.

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29 Responses to Obama to Tout Jobs Project that isn’t Shovel-Ready

  1. Going to add shovel ready to folks and pass this bill to things I never want to
    hear him say ad nauseam. Pretty soon it will be like George Carlin’s 7 things you can never say on TV!

  2. I wonder how many union workers will be bused in, to stand there, wave the flag and sing amens to the great one? All lined up in the most perfect camera angles as well.

    I’m sure while he is giving his rally speach, BHO will lean over and yell into the mic like he is going to bite it off several times as well. Let me see, he will bound up on the stage, take his jacket off, roll his sleeves up a roll or two and then commence he political rally. Shall we wager how many times he is interupted by cheering?

    What I thought. I will not be watching.

  3. Every move he makes is political, and it has been that way from the moment he came on the public scene. I believe we’re taxed enough already, so why do we have to kick in more to fix roads and bridges that most Americans will never travel. If the government wasn’t so fat and bloated, they might be able to manage the money they currently receive for these projects.

    This is nothing more than a re-election slush fund for Obama. He needs this to keep the unions and the vulnerables on the payroll so they will continue to do his dirty work. If we can prevent them from getting their graft money, we might be able to slow down the election fraud that is bound to happen in 2012.

    • As for this bridge–it now sounds like the Bridge on the River Kwai–wired to blow…you guys are lucky to be alive. These
      pols should be ashamed of themselves with this stuff. I guess shame is an older virtue.

  4. The brdige may not be shovel ready but I’ll bet it’s union ready. Non of Obamas plans ever involve anything other then kick backs to the unions and that’s all these “infrastructure” jobs are.

  5. Good reporting.
    I believe Obama mentioned that kids shouldn’t be taught in “trailers” again at the Hispanic Caucus. He said that this particularly effects Hispanic children because they are the largest growth demographic.

    I used some photos from http://www.willscot.com/cl/solutions-portable.php
    the largest manufacturer of modular classrooms in my last video.
    Portable classrooms are nicer than most traditional classrooms and are used everywhere.

    Is Obama trying to destroy another industry to score political points? He is so out of touch on this issue it’s laughable. It would make a good expose`.

  6. Oh, boy. Another classic fail for the WhiteHouse. Outsmarted again by their own cleverness, they’ll look like fools for showcasing a bridge that is already in the process of being upgraded.

    Just wondering about the upgrading of schools that is featured in the not-paid-for JobsAct; isn’t that usually done by issuing or calling for a bond to be repaid by the local taxpayers?

  7. Every time you put gasoline in your auto’s tank $0.184 of the price goes to the federal government to be used for roads. Does it go to a road fund or could it be diverted to something else similar to what happens to the Social Security money.

    Doesn’t the folks in charge of highways have a schedule which projects what roads are to be repaired or built? The engineers do not wake up one morning and say they will start building/repairing the next day. They have to plan ahead sometimes years in advance.

    • Does it go to a road fund or could it be diverted to something else similar to what happens to the Social Security money.

      I am thinking now it’s a big slush fund for whatever—bundlers, parties, a bridge, a stretch of hghway Bette Midler would not pay for, water-powered cars. neon lightbulbs, anything anyone wants. Whup-de-dooo! Money money!

    • I have been asking this question for a very long time. Every time he talks about “infrastructure and repairing roads. What happens to all of that money we give in taxes for every gallon of gas we consume? Still have not gotten a good answer. Guess it all goes down the money hole!!!! It seems very black in there.