ROADS/BRIDGES: Obama wants to build ‘21st century transportation system’

Jan. 13, 2016

Obama makes clear his goal for a modern, clean transportation system in his final State of the Union address

President Obama spoke about building a 21st-century transportation infrastructure system in his final State of the Union address. A plan that will have to be backed by the $305 transportation billion bill passed by Congress in December, which also adheres to Obama’s sentiments on limiting the influence of foreign oil by opening up the Strategic Oil Reserve.

“Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet. That way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st-century transportation system,” Obama said.

It is unclear what exactly Obama has in mind for a modern transportation system, but based on his past presidential terms it will most likely include autonomous vehicle technologies even though no legal framework has been put in place. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced that the U.S. DOT had no plans for developing federal regulations for autonomous vehicles

Obama also highlighted the theme of American innovation in last night’s speech pointing to companies like Ford, Tesla, Uber, Lyft and General Motors developing new technologies to market. 

"Our auto industry just had its best year ever. Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters," Obama said.