By Keith Laing - 11/02/11 06:57 PM EDT
Obama invoked the Capitol in his remarks, saying the bridge he was using as a backdrop Wednesday was "just a few miles from the Capitol Building.
"It’s the Key Bridge, one of the five major bridges that connect the Commonwealth of Virginia to Washington, D.C.," he said. "Two of these five bridges are rated structurally deficient, which is a fancy way of saying that you can drive on them but they need repair. Nearly 120,000 vehicles cross these two bridges every single day, carrying hundreds of thousands of commuters and families and children."
Obama was joined Wednesday by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who the president noted in his speech was "a Republican member of my Cabinet" who "spent a long time in Congress."
LaHood said in an interview on MSNBC after the president's speech that passing the infrastructure proposals was a no-brainer.
"If senators — both Republicans and Democrats — really are listening to people in their states, people are hurting," LaHood said in the interview. "They also know that a $50 billion infrastructure program would put people to work very quickly, and they also know they have a lot of bad roads and bridges in their states."
Obama said Wednesday that Republicans in Congress should see things like LaHood does.
"He knows how badly we need to act on this issue," he said, before calling out House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
"I can’t imagine that Speaker Boehner wants to represent a state where nearly one in four bridges is classified as substandard," he said. "I’m sure that the Speaker of the House would want to have bridges and roads in his state that are up to par.
"When the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell visited that closed bridge in Kentucky that I was talking about, he admitted, look, 'roads and bridges are not partisan in Washington,' " Obama said of Boehner. "That’s a quote from him."
The Senate is schedule to vote on the transportation portions of the Jobs Act Thursday.