Obama Proposes $50 Billion For Infrastructure Labor Day is the traditional campaign kick off, and President Obama traveled to Milwaukee, Wisc., to mark the moment Monday. But with the economy still sagging and Democrats looking at dismal poll numbers, it's tough place to start.
NPR logo

Obama Proposes $50 Billion For Infrastructure

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/129693166/129693140" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Obama Proposes $50 Billion For Infrastructure

Obama Proposes $50 Billion For Infrastructure

Obama Proposes $50 Billion For Infrastructure

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/129693166/129693140" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Labor Day is the traditional campaign kick off, and President Obama traveled to Milwaukee, Wisc., to mark the moment Monday. But with the economy still sagging and Democrats looking at dismal poll numbers, it's tough place to start.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

Don't call this a second stimulus, but President Obama is promising another, smaller round of tax cuts and government spending, in hopes of breathing more life into the country's still-struggling economy.

BARACK OBAMA: I am going to keep fighting every single day, every single hour...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

OBAMA: ...every single minute, to turn this economy around and put people back to work and renew the American Dream, not just for your family, not just for all our families, but for future generations. That, I can guarantee you.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

WERTHEIMER: Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH")

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS: (Singing) Ain't no mountain high enough...

SCOTT HORSLEY: For steelworker Tim Dulka(ph), who works at Harley Davidson, it's been tough.

TIM DULKA: We're on the roller coaster ride, feeling the affects just like everybody else is in this world, and it's a struggle. You know? Glad to be working, for now.

HORSLEY: The lackluster economy also threatens the jobs of many congressional Democrats this fall. Mr. Obama shed his suit coat and his cool demeanor yesterday, to argue that a return to Republican control of Congress is not what the economy needs.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Do we want to go back or do we want to go forward? I say we want to move forward. America always moves forward. We keep moving forward every day.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

HORSLEY: Yesterday, he unveiled a $50 billion dollar proposal to invest in the nation's transportation network: railroads, airports and highways.

OBAMA: Over the next six years, we are going to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads - that's enough to circle the world six times, that's a lot of road.

HORSLEY: You might think truck driver Elmer Jacobson would welcome better highways. But as he swallowed a bite of bratwurst yesterday, Jacobson sounded skeptical.

ELMER JACOBSON: I hope it makes it down to the actual workers instead of the administrative people that do the stuff. Seems like the last stimulus package, all it stimulated was bigger government. Not helping no workers, none.

HORSLEY: Jacobson wasn't much more enthusiastic about congressional Republicans, for opposing what the president wants. He wondered whatever happened to the campaign promise of bipartisanship.

JACOBSON: A lot of people voted for Obama for hope and change. And I don't see any hope or change coming around here.

HORSLEY: Unionized bus driver Dan Prichard and his steelworker father, Paul, both wore stickers yesterday for Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. But neither man sounded ready for a lot of heavy-duty campaigning.

DAN PRICHARD: I don't know about knocking on doors. But we'll be voting. So...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PAUL PRICHARD: And we're union. Union workers usually vote Democratic.

HORSLEY: Scott Horsley, NPR news, Milwaukee.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.