Obama urges Americans to use public transport
15 May 2010
US President Barack Obama has called on Americans to make greater use of public transport, even as he said the increasing use of cars by Indians and Chinese would push oil prices higher.
''Because one of the things, obviously, that we have to recognise is that no matter what we do, oil prices are going to be going up over the long term,'' he said in recession-hit Buffalo in New York.
"I mean, year to year, they may vary. Sometimes it's four bucks a gallon at the pump; sometimes it drops back down to two-and-a-half. The mass transit system would be good for the environment too," he said at a rally in Buffalo on Thursday.
Obama's latest observation about Indians pushing up gas prices follows his much publicised rhetoric in May last year when he announced US companies that outsourced jobs from "Buffalo to Bangalore" would lose their tax incentives.
"You're not always clear what's going on, but the long-term trend is just because countries like China and India are starting to buy cars, and so the demand on petroleum and fossil fuels are going to be greater and greater," said Obama.
"We've got to get a first-class transit system," he told auto-loving Americans, who have 950 cars per thousand people as against 8.5 per thousand for Indians. "We don't have one right now. We used to be at the top. Now you've got China, they're building multiple high-speed rail lines all across the country, leaving us behind. But it's not just transit. It's our ports, our airports, our sewer systems, our water systems," Obama said.
"We're going to figure out how do we make those kinds of long-term investments, but do so in a way that doesn't increase our deficit, and that's going to be a challenge, but I think it's going to be a priority," the president said.
He said economists might have used all kinds of fancy formulae and mathematical equations to declare the end of recession but if people were still looking for jobs it was still recession. Also, if they were not able to pay their bills or mortgage it was still recession.