Republicans responded by saying they also wanted to upgrade American roads, bridges and other infrastructure, but only if it could be paid for. SpeakerJohn A. Boehner’s office distributed comments he made last month after Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address.First, remember that private investment is a central part of Obama's proposal:
“It’s easy to go out there and be Santa Claus and talk about all the things you want to give away,” Mr. Boehner said. “But at some point, somebody has to pay the bill.”
Partnering with the Private Sector to Create Jobs and Invest in the Projects We Need Most. To leverage private and public capital for infrastructure projects showing the greatest merit, the President is continuing to call for the investment of $10 billion to create and capitalize an independent National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), based on a model that has won bipartisan support from the Senate in the past. Each dollar of Federal funding can leverage up to $20 in total infrastructure investment, mainly from partners in the private sector and State and local government.Second, who does Boehner think is going to pay the greatly increased bills when bridges start collapsing, taking lives with them? For that matter, what does he think is going to happen to an economy where goods can't easily be transported from one city or state to another because the nation's rail and roads and bridges aren't up to the task? There's a reason the Chamber of Commerce and unions agree on the importance of infrastructure investment: It's incredibly important not just for job creation but for private profits. Aging, inadequate infrastructure is costing the economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
Steve Benen describes Obama's plan as a "moderate approach intended to garner broader support." And Republicans used to support far, far more extensive infrastructure spending. But now? They're more interested in hurting Obama than helping the nation.