We Got a Small Mention in the S.O.T.U. Address

I personally did not catch this during the speech but it came up in MSN.com’s “Fact Vs. Fiction” analysis. This is what the president had to say that was vaguely sort of about us:

We’ll need Congress to protect more than 3 million jobs by finishing [U][B]transportation and waterways[/B][/U] bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.

Ok, not a great shout-out, but it does sort of show to some extent that he, or some part of his administration, recognizes that water-borne transportation is an important part of the nation’s infrastructure. Now, I’m not damning or defending what the president is going to do in regards to marine transportation, I merely wanted to bring up the fact that it was interesting that he mentioned it at all last night. As to what he’s going to do about it, well, that’s up for some serious debate.

This is MSN.com’s analysis of the above statement, which I think is rather pertinent and says a lot about what we can expect to see on this front:

Cutting rules and regulations doesn’t address what’s holding up most transportation projects, which is lack of money. The federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money in August without action. To finance infrastructure projects, Obama wants Congress to raise taxes on businesses that keep profits or jobs overseas, but that idea has been a political nonstarter.

The number of projects affected by the administration’s efforts to cut red tape is relatively small, said Joshua Schank, president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a think tank. “The reason most of these projects are delayed is they don’t have enough money. So it’s great that you are expediting the review process, but the review process isn’t the problem. The problem is we don’t have enough money to invest in our infrastructure in the first place.”

I think most of the Trans/Waterway bill mentioned refers to updating the lock and dam systems on the Upper Miss and Ohio Rivers. Good impact on inland guys but negligible bearing on the blue water crowd.