TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Making his first public appearance in Westchester County since becoming president, Barack Obama used the backdrop of the Tappan Zee Bridge on Wednesday afternoon as a call for rebuilding the nation’s transportation infrastructure a national priority.
“First-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs,” Obama said in an invitation-only event at the Washington Irving Boat Club.
Obama began a 16-minute speech that called for increased federal funding for infrastructure improvement by acknowledging the picturesque scenery.
“It turned out to be a beautiful day,” Obama said as he started his remarks. “This is a beautiful part of the world and I’m honored to be here.”
Obama cited the urgent need for the construction of a new bridge and the start of the project as a national model.
“Behind me is the old Tappan Zee Bridge, the longest bridge in New York,” Obama said. “At times you can see the river through the cracks of the pavement. Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good.”
Obama cited partisanship on the part of Republicans in Congress as a factor in delays in approving funding for improving the nation’s infrastructure.
“We don’t need a ‘Can’t do’ spirit, we need a ‘Can Do’ spirit,” Obama said. “We need Congress to work with us on these issues.
“I don’t want to rebuild one bridge, I want to rebuild every bridge,” Obama added.
Obama acknowledged Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Congressional delegation in attendance, but made no mention of either Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino or Rockland County Executive Ed Day, both Republicans, who were also in attendance. Astorino is challenging Cuomo in the fall gubernatorial election.
Chris Horton, a Mount Kisco native who lives in Peekskill, a project engineer for the New NY Bridge started the festivities by introducing Cuomo.
Traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge was moving without delays during Obama's speech.
Check back to Daily Voice for additional photos and more on Obama’s appearance.