Obama takes office, plans massive economic, environmental changes

Obama takes office, plans massive economic, environmental changes

Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States today, and the transportation industry waits to see the impact of the economic and environmental plans the new President has promised to implement

Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States today, and the transportation industry waits to see the impact of the economic and environmental plans the new President has promised to implement.

A major component of the President’s Economic Recovery Plan is an investment of about $60 billion in public funds for infrastructure projects to repair U.S. roads, bridges and other projects over the next 10 years.

“We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead,” according to Obama.

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Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States today, and the transportation industry waits to see the impact of the economic and environmental plans the new President has promised to implement.

A major component of the President’s Economic Recovery Plan is an investment of about $60 billion in public funds for infrastructure projects to repair U.S. roads, bridges and other projects over the next 10 years.

“We'll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead,” according to Obama.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has called for the new administration to invest a total of $545 billion in transportation infrastructure from 2010 through 2015 for highways ($375 billion), transit ($93 billion), freight movement ($42 billion), and intercity passenger rail ($35 billion).

Last month, Obama’s transition team met with representatives of the American Trucking Assns. (ATA), the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), National Private Truck Council (NPTC) and various truck manufacturers to speak about the issues confronting the trucking industry.

"Overall, we were impressed with the Obama team's desire to hear from us, and we hope this becomes the start of an ongoing communication flow that will continue throughout the new Administration's term in office," said Chris Burruss, presidentof TCA.

Obama’s choice for Secretary of Transportation, former Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), is set to have his confirmation hearing tomorrow at 2 p.m. EST. If confirmed, he will replace the departing Mary Peters, who has been Secretary of Transportation since 2006.

“Few understand our infrastructure challenge better than the outstanding public servant I am asking to lead the Department of Transportation – Ray LaHood,” Obama said. “As a Congressman from Illinois, Ray served six years on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, leading efforts to modernize our aviation system by renewing our aging airports and ensuring that air traffic controllers were using cutting edge technology. Throughout his career, Ray has fought to improve mass transit and invest in our highways.”

To head the Environmental Protection Agency, Obama chose Lisa Jackson, former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, who previously spent 16 years at EPA’s Washington headquarters and its regional office in New York.

“Lisa has spent a lifetime in public service at the local, state and federal level,” Obama said. “As Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, she has helped make her state a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing new sources of energy, and she has the talent and experience to continue this effort at the EPA. Lisa also shares my commitment to restoring the EPA’s robust role in protecting our air, water and abundant natural resources so that our environment is cleaner and our communities are safer.”

During Jackson’s confirmation hearing, which was held last week, she said that under her, the EPA will serve Americans who have suffered from “environmental negligence,” although she declined to speak on what steps would immediately be taken in the beginning of her term, The Washington Post reported.

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