President Obama invited a small group of mayors, two governors and current secretary of transportation and others to talk about his new transportation initiative, which is a proposed $50 billion jump-start of the new era of transportation and infrastructure.
Riley says Obama’s plan on transportation infrastructure would greatly benefit Charleston and South Carolina.
This is greatly needed, obviously, in our community. We all have our recognized transportation improvement needs including more funding to address the flooding on the Crosstown and other improvements. And to add biking and pedestrian enhancements to our highways. So, I welcomed the opportunity to be at the White House with the president and members of his administration.
As for South Carolina, Riley says his hope is–
That Congress will work with President Obama and get this new initiative underway and approve the $50 billion of additional funding, some of which, of course, will come to South Carolina, and Charleston, and for us to work very hard to avail ourselves of funds that will help us with Crosstown drainage and help us get a bike and pedestrian addition and help us get commuter rail underway.
As for Monday’s meeting at the White House, Riley says it was like a bipartisan rally, to get other leaders on board.
There were Republicans and Democrats there. We are in an intense political season right this moment, but the hope is when that dust settles we can develop a broad bipartisan coalition because bridges, and highways, and drainage improvements and commuter rails are not Republican or Democratic, they are American initiatives.
Riley says he doesn’t know how much Charleston would get from the $50 billion, but he says he wants as much as possible. He says the current administration understands what the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs.
What I brought back was a real commitment on the part of President Obama and his administration and the support of previous transportation secretaries that our nation needs to invest more in our highways and bridges, and new rail opportunities.
Riley says the nation’s infrastructure is vital to the economy and future competitiveness.