Governors Recreate 1908 Photo Op and Call for Infastructure Investments

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White House Governors Conference May 15, 1908

National Governors Association Conference February 25, 2008 (courtesy of National Governors Association.)

The National Governors Association met in Washington on Monday with President Bush and recreated the historic photo of the 1908 Conference of Governors (top), hosted by Theodore Roosevelt.

The 1908 Conference of Governors launched a national conservation plan in the early 1900s of energy generation, conservation and restoration projects, and economic development to underdeveloped regions of the U.S. that had not benefited from the wealth of the railroad age, which was mostly accrued in the Northeast and Midwestern United States. Projects like Roosevelt Dam in Phoenix (1911), the Colorado River Compact (1922), and the Hoover Dam (1931) came about because of this effort. (Fishman, 2007)

This week the Governors took advantage of their time with the President to suggest that infrastructure projects be included in Congress's economic stimulus plan. Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, who assumes the chairmanship of the National Governors Association next year, has been passionate on this issue and recently announced a "Build America's Future" initiative with Gov. Schwarzenegger and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

According to the New York Times:

Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, a Democrat who is vice chairman of the National Governors Association, described the response as "a fairly significant no."

"There are tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure projects ready to go," Mr. Rendell said. "I asked the president if he would support spending on those projects as part of a second stimulus package, and he said no."

Other governors pushing for spending on transportation projects include Jon Corzine of New Jersey, a Democrat; Charlie Crist of Florida, a Republican; Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, a Republican; and Eliot Spitzer of New York, a Democrat.

The Bush Administration spokesperson's response:

"There's no short-term stimulus to the economy for some of these projects," Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, said.

Read the Times article.