Washington: US President Barack Obama has called for increased investment in the infrastructure sector, which he said is important to create jobs and give a boost to the manufacturing sector.
"I think about our infrastructure. In today's global economy, businesses are going to take root and grow wherever there's the fastest, most reliable transportation and communications networks -- they can go anywhere," Obama said yesterday in his remarks on economy at the Port of New Orleans in Louisiana.
"So China is investing a lot in infrastructure. Europe is investing a whole lot in infrastructure. And Brazil is investing a whole lot in infrastructure. What are we doing?" he said in his speech wherein he focused on investment in infrastructure sector, jobs and immigration.
The United States, he said, is falling behind that international race.
"We're relying on old stuff. I don't think we should have just old stuff. We should have some new stuff that is going to help us grow and keep pace with global competition," he said.
Obama said rebuilding transportation and communications networks is one of the fastest ways to create good jobs.
"And consider that just a couple of years from now, we're going to have new supertankers that are going to start coming through the Panama Canal, and these tankers can hold three times as much cargo as today's," he said.
"If a port can't handle those supertankers, they'll go load and unload cargo somewhere else. So there's work that we can start doing in terms of dredging and making the passageways deeper, which means the supertankers can have more stuff on them, which means they can unload and load more stuff, which makes this port more competitive," he added.
Obama said one in nine of US bridges is rated structurally deficient. More than 40 per cent of major highways are congested; so is the airspace.
"Everybody who's sitting on a tarmac wondering why it is that you?re not taking off, and getting aggravated when you go fly someplace, part of the reason is we've got this antiquated air traffic control system. We need the next generation air traffic control system," he said.
"It would reduce time travel; it would reduce delays. It reduces fuel costs for airlines. It reduces pollution in the sky. We know how to do it, we just haven't done it," said the US President.
Obama also called for fixing the broken immigration system, which he said would be good for national and economic security.
Over the next two decades, it would grow our economy by USD 1.4 trillion. It would shrink our deficits by nearly a trillion dollars," he said.
First Published: Saturday, November 9, 2013, 10:53