Federal City Digest

Federal City Digest

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Roadwork Ahead

Get ready for dust, detours, delays and -- eventually -- the pleasure of driving on fresh asphalt (even if you still have to do it in an unbailed-out beater). President Obama and Vice President Biden yesterday visited the Department of Transportation to discuss the single largest federal outlay on American roadways since the interstate highway system was built beginning in the 1950s. [Story, B2]

That $26.6 billion in new transit funds, announced in concert with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, will come with nifty new logos, too, just so no one forgets where the money originated. Projects undertaken through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding will get an ARRA sign or logo, complete with self-advertisement for Recovery.gov, and transit projects will get a DOT TIGER Team -- that's short for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery -- logo, as well.

The Obama-Biden visit to Transportation HQ was further notable, according to the department, as the first time a sitting president and vice president have made a joint visit to the bureau. Two sitting presidents have visited before: Ronald Reagan, in 1981, and George W. Bush just last year.


-- President Obama speaks from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building about his plan to reform the federal contracting system.

-- The Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) hearings continue with the House Financial Services financial institutions and consumer credit subcommittee asking, "Is TARP Working for Main Street?" Among those testifying: Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; David S. Scharfstein, professor at Harvard Business School; and Joseph Zucchero, owner of Chicago's Mr. Beef deli.

-- Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag testifies before the Senate Budget Committee on "The President's FY2010 Budget Proposal." Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner does the same before the Senate Finance Committee.

-- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress at 11 a.m. before heading back across the pond.

-- The International Criminal Court in The Hague is expected to formally issue a previously approved arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

-- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to depart the Middle East for Belgium.

-- And the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on "Getting to the Truth Through a Nonpartisan Commission of Inquiry," to test out the feasibility of establishing a forum scrutinizing Bush-era national security policies.

-- Garance Franke-Ruta federalcity@washpost.com

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