House Minority Leader John Boehner has called President Barack Obama’s $50 billion rails, roads, and runways initiative nothing more than a second stimulus package, but Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl says infrastructure development is essential in the down economy. “Boehner can describe it however he wishes,” the Milwaukee Democrat said in Madison on Wednesday. “But it’s an investment in the future of our country. Nobody doubts that, not even John Boehner.”
Still, Kohl says he doesn’t feel much urgency to get the Obama infrastructure proposal passed before the end of the current Congress. “This is not a short term investment, it’s an investment over the medium term,” said Kohl. “That $50 billion that he talked about for infrastructure across the country will play itself out over several years, so in my own mind I don’t attach any urgency to getting it done. Although it would be nice to get it done, and I’m sure we’ll try.” The president unveiled the initiative during a Labor Day stop in Milwaukee. Kohl’s fellow Wisconsin Democratic Senator, Russ Feingold, indicated Wednesday that he has some reservations with the plan.
As for another infrastructure project, one which has become a political football in the race for governor, Kohl says there’s no stopping high speed rail. “It’s going to go forward, regardless of who the next governor is,” Kohl said. Republican candidates Scott Walker and Mark Neumann have both said they’ll work to stop the Milwaukee to Madison passenger rail link if elected governor. Kohl spoke Wednesday to the Madison Rotary.