Opinion: Oops, Obama touts his jobs plan today at an Ohio bridge that won’t qualify
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You know all those rusting bridges that President Obama wants to spend billions more dollars repairing to allegedly stimulate the economy?
He’s headed out to one today which he’s described as a ‘bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.’ It is on a busy trucking route, spanning the Ohio River between Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati.
It’s the Brent Spence Bridge. It doesn’t really need repairs. It’s got decades of good life left in its steel spans. It’s just overloaded. The bridge was built to handle 85,000 cars and trucks a day, which seemed like a lot back during construction in the Nixon era.
Today, the bridge sort of handles more than 150,000 vehicles a day with frequent jam-ups.
So, plans are not to repair or replace the Brent Spence Bridge. But to build another bridge nearby to ease the loads.
But here’s the problem, as John Merline graphically notes here, that could screw up all those envisioned photo op shots of the Democrat and the traffic:
The president’s jobs bill is designed for ‘immediate’ highway spending.
And the new $2.3 billion Cincy bridge is not scheduled to even start construction for probably four years, long after Republicans have scheduled the Obama presidency for completion.
And without delays, it wouldn’t be finished until 2022, when no one will be counting Obama’s rounds of golf.
Politicians hate these kinds of messy distractions when they pick a place to make a symbolic statement. But Brent Spence was so tempting linking, as it does, the home states of GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But there is some possible good news for President Obama: The $447-billion jobs bill that he wanted passed ‘right now’ back in early September is stuck in a legislative traffic jam in the Senate.
Fellow Democrat Harry Reid, the majority leader who can run that place like a school principal whenever he wants, is aware of opposition to the measure among some of his own caucus members.
And, well, darn it, wouldn’t you know, Reid just can’t seem to find a place for Obama’s jobs bill in the chamber’s overloaded schedule. As a result, as of right now Obama’s ‘right now’ jobs bill won’t come up until later in the fall, possibly much later.
In a way the scheduling doesn’t matter. Since the Democrat in the White House would rather have Republican opposition to it than any of its job-creating provisions, so he can have obstructionist charges for next year’s campaign.
But if Congress works the way it usually does, maybe the bridge-repair money will be delayed a few years until the president’s photo op Brent Spence Bridge enhancement bridge project is actually shovel-ready.
-- Andrew Malcolm