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Behind us stands the Brent Spence Bridge. It’s located on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. It sees about 150,000 vehicles every single day. And it’s in such poor condition that it's been labeled "functionally obsolete." Think about that -- functionally obsolete. That doesn’t sound good, does it?
THE PRESIDENT: It’s safe to --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Kind of like John Boehner. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: It's safe to drive on, but it was not designed to accommodate today’s traffic, which can stretch out for a mile. Shipping companies try to have their trucks avoid the bridge. Of course, that only ends up costing them more money as well.
The thing is there are bridges and roads and highways like that throughout the region. A major bridge that connects Kentucky and Indiana just closed down for safety reasons. Another aging bridge that crosses over the Ohio River in Ironton could be replaced right now. There are rail stations in Cleveland and Toledo in desperate need of repair. And the same is true in cities and towns all across America. It makes your commute longer. It costs our businesses billions of dollars -- they could be moving products faster if they had better transportation routes. And in some cases, it’s not safe.
Now, we used to have the best infrastructure in the world here in America. We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad, the Interstate Highway System. (Applause.) We built the Hoover Dam. We built the Grand Central Station. (Applause.) So how can we now sit back and let China build the best railroads? And let Europe build the best highways? And have Singapore build a nicer airport? At a time when we've got millions of unemployed construction workers out there just ready to get on the job, ready to do the work to rebuilding America. (Applause.)[...]
So my question is, what's Congress waiting for? Why is it taking so long? Now, the bridge behind us just happens to connect the state that’s home to the Speaker of the House --
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: -- with the home state of the Republican leader in the Senate.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Now, that’s just a coincidence. (Laughter.) Purely accidental that that happened. (Laughter.) But part of the reason I came here is because Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, those are the two most powerful Republicans in government. They can either kill this jobs bill, or they can help pass this jobs bill. (Applause.) And I know these men care about their states. They care about businesses; they care about workers here. I can’t imagine that the Speaker wants to represent a state where nearly one in four bridges are classified as substandard -- one in four. I know that when Senator McConnell visited the closed bridge in Kentucky, he said that, “Roads and bridges are not partisan in Washington.” That’s great. I know that Paul Ryan, the Republican in charge of the budget process, recently said that "you can’t deny that infrastructure does creates jobs." That's what he said.
Well, if that’s the case, there’s no reason for Republicans in Congress to stand in the way of more construction projects. There’s no reason to stand in the way of more jobs.
Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge. (Applause.) Help us rebuild America. Help us put construction workers back to work. (Applause.) Pass this bill.
AUDIENCE: Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill!
THE PRESIDENT: Let’s pass the bill.