President Barack Obama ramped up his call for more federal spending on infrastructure projects during a daylong trip Friday to Miami, where he visited a new tunnel project at the city's port.
In a brief, 13-minute speech, Obama pushed for a list of new projects aimed at boosting the economy. The president's plan calls for changing the tax code to provide tax incentives for companies to invest private money into infrastructure projects; for creating a $10 billion "national infrastructure bank"; and for establishing a $4 billion program that would fund projects. Obama has made a pitch for many of these ideas in past budget proposals and in his recent State of the Union address.
"We still have too many ports that aren't equipped for today's world commerce. We've still got too many rail lines that are too slow and clogged up. We've still got too many roads that are in disrepair—too many roads that aren't safe," Obama said, adding later: "Today I'm expanding on a proposal I made in the State of the Union. I'm calling it a Partnership to Rebuild America. It's a partnership with the private sector that creates jobs upgrading what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children."
A budget passed by Senate Democrats last week calls for about $100 billion in immediate spending for infrastructure projects. The White House plans to release its own budget blueprint on April 10, which will include Obama's infrastructure proposals.
In an effort to counter Obama in advance, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio published an op-ed in the Miami Herald Friday criticizing the spending increases expected in Obama's budget.
"[O]ur economy won’t grow or produce middle class jobs because of the constant threat of trillion dollar tax hikes like the one recently approved in the Senate Democratic budget. Instead, our role in government must be to ensure that the process for starting and growing businesses is as encouraging as possible," Rubio wrote. "We can’t do this if we’re adding trillions to our national debt. The fight to reduce the debt must start by passing a balanced and responsible budget that focuses on strengthening our economy, empowering the middle class and protecting American families."