Obama to plug infrastructure investments during Delaware visit

 President Barack Obama speaks near the base of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York in May.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

President Barack Obama speaks near the base of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York in May.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

President Obama is expected to appear in Delaware on Thursday as he continues to urge investment in road and bridge projects across the country.

During his stop at the Port of Wilmington, Obama is expected to urge Congress to move quicker on legislation that will help replenish the U.S. Highway Transportation Fund, which could run out of money by the end of the summer.

“The federal Highway Trust Fund will go bankrupt next month unless Congress intervenes with a bipartisan solution in the next few weeks,” explained Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware “The tri-state area could lose thousands of jobs and see hundreds of critical highway projects stopped or delayed. The President is coming to Delaware to say that’s unacceptable and that the nation cannot ignore its infrastructure needs.”

The president’s visit comes as the Delaware Dept. of Transportation continues repairs on the I-495 bridge, which closed last month after engineers discovered that some of the bridge’s support columns were tilted. Federal funding is underwriting the majority of the multi-million dollar repair project.

On Thursday, Obama is also expected to talk about a new initiative to increase private sector investments in infrastructure.

“We are honored to welcome the President to Delaware and appreciate the support his administration has provided in helping us fix the I-495 bridge,” said Kelly Bachman, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jack Markell’s office. “Both the President and Vice President have been very clear about the need to invest in our infrastructure and this visit provides an opportunity to continue the dialogue already taking place in Delaware regarding how such investments can improve safety, spur economic development and create jobs.”

New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon said that the president’s visit will help showcase the state’s assets.

“Many people don’t know where Delaware is, they don’t know it’s a state, so any time we get this kind of visit, we try to show off and highlight our state and I think it’s critical right now for our ability to market businesses and corporations,” Gordon said.

Gordon said the state is in a good position to attract new business because of its easy access to port, rail and highway systems.

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