Barack Obama Rips Republican Party For Holding Up Transportation Spending

President Barack Obama. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

TARRYTOWN–Appearing in Westchester County this afternoon, President Barack Obama ripped Congressional Republicans for standing in the way of new infrastructure spending,

Mr. Obama delivered an address at a Tarrytown yacht club, with the Tappan Zee Bridge and shimmering Hudson River behind him. In his remarks, the president underscored the need for government to invest more in America’s infrastructure, calling on Congress to pass legislation that would gird the country’s aging roads and bridges.

“Now so far at least, Republicans who run this Congress seem to have a different priority,” Mr. Obama declared, as both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican gubernatorial rival, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, looked on.

“Instead of putting more workers back on the job, they’ve put those workers jobs at risk. Instead of breaking ground on new projects that improve the quality of life for millions of people, they’ve wanted to give massive tax cuts to households making more than a million dollars a year,” Mr. Obama charged. “Instead of making investments that grow our economy by growing the middle class, they’re still convinced that prosperity trickles down from the very top.”

“You want to tell them what you think about that, don’t worry, they usually show up at ribbon cuttings for projects they refuse to fund,” Mr. Obama added, arguing that even Republican President Ronald Reagan endorsed infrastructure spending. “Since when are the Republicans in Congress against Ronald Reagan? But that’s the problem. We’ve gotten so partisan that everything has become political.”

Construction is underway to replace the 58-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge; as Mr. Obama spoke, massive cranes hung against the sky. Mr. Obama wants Congress to pass a $302 billion transportation plan, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has blocked many of Mr. Obama’s spending measures, arguing that additional governmental spending is wasteful.

While Mr. Obama lamented partisan divisions in Congress–he said again that his favorite president is Republican Abraham Lincoln–Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, struck a far less political chord as he introduced the president.

Mr. Cuomo hailed the state’s history of embarking on ambitious infrastructure projects, like the new bridge that will replace the Tappan Zee, and heaped praise on Republicans and Democrats in the state’s legislature.

“This bridge will create tens of thousands of jobs, it will speed commutation, it will increase safety, it will open the region to new growth like never before,” Mr. Cuomo said. “But Mr. President, we want you to know that to New York, we are not just building a bridge from Rockland to Westchester. This is a bridge that symbolizes what was and what can be.”