By Michael McCord
Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2007
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks at the Rochester Opera House on Wednesday. Speaking about the nation’s infrastructure needs, she said it is time “to stop wringing our hands and start rolling up our sleeves.”
ROCHESTER — Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton told an audience at the Rochester Opera House Wednesday that the issue of bridge and road repairs and other national infrastructure projects is "not a subject that usually gets headlines."
That is until last week's deadly bridge collapse in Minnesota, which has led to a major coast-to-coast re-evaluation of the nation's deteriorating infrastructure. In her second major policy address in the state in the past two days, the New York senator unveiled a wide-ranging plan for major infrastructure investment and a setting of national priorities.
"We face an infrastructure crisis," Clinton told the audience of about 460 local residents. "We do not need any more wake-up calls. It is time to stop wringing our hands and start rolling up our sleeves. It is time for us to rebuild America."
Before a receptive audience, which leapt to its feet cheering when Clinton, who stood before a large "Rebuilding America" sign, talked about ending the war in Iraq and investing more money in the country's domestic needs. She criticized the Bush administration for its "fatalistic and pessimistic" measures and called for immediate emergency funding of more than $10.2 billion for repairs and assessments. She also outlined a long-term, comprehensive plan to modernize everything from bridges and highways to public transportation and port modernization.
Citing local examples such as the Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, Clinton said the country's infrastructure needs are matters of safety, national security and economic development and cited the building of the Erie Canal in New York and the transcontinental railroad as historical examples of transforming the country.
"We are trying to run today's economy on yesterday's infrastructure that threatens future prosperity," said Clinton, who has co-sponsored infrastructure legislation in the Senate.
A Seacoast Republican who came to Rochester to see Clinton for the first time said Clinton came well prepared. "I wasn't overly impressed, but I liked it," said Carrie Averill of Berwick, Maine. "She definitely had a plan."
A Rochester native and Democrat who watched Clinton was more skeptical. "It's one thing to talk about it. It's another thing to do it," said Rosemary Watson.
The Rochester appearance was part of Clinton's 12th campaign visit to the state this year. On Tuesday in Derry, Clinton released her proposals to deal with subprime mortgage crisis.