On Saturday, President-elect Barack Obama announced the largest public works program since the Eisenhower adminstration in the 1950’s.
Today, I am announcing a few key parts of my plan. First, we will launch a massive effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that. We need to upgrade our federal buildings by replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs. That won’t just save you, the American taxpayer, billions of dollars each year. It will put people back to work.
Second, we will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.
Third, my economic recovery plan will launch the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings that this country has ever seen. We will repair broken schools, make them energy-efficient, and put new computers in our classrooms. Because to help our children compete in a 21st century economy, we need to send them to 21st century schools.
As we renew our schools and highways, we’ll also renew our information superhighway. It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption. Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world.
In addition to connecting our libraries and schools to the internet, we must also ensure that our hospitals are connected to each other through the internet. That is why the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system – and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives. We will make sure that every doctor’s office and hospital in this country is using cutting edge technology and electronic medical records so that we can cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, and help save billions of dollars each year.
Not only will this try and jump start our crashing economy but would fix some serious problems we have with our infrastructure. The prime example of the teetering collapse was the literal collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007.
Of course some people will complain about the spending of large sums of tax payer dollars but like the Interstate Highway System, our infrastructure should be of a national interest. Good roads, safe bridges, and school buildings are foundations for a strong society.
Only the federal government can marshal the money and vision to make these things happen on a scale to help the country on the whole. The Interstate system not only helped to support the military if needed, it transformed the economics of this country and allowed for more national businesses rather than local or regional ones. With that scale came lower prices and new products and services spreading from coast to coast. Would McDonald’s be an American icon today if there had not been interstate highways?