Tonight, President Obama will deliver his penultimate State of the Union address to Congress and the nation. The president will reportedly spend time addressing the nation’s tax policy, including proposals that would create breaks for the middle and working class families and bolster America’s flagging infrastructure. Despite this focus on speeding up America’s economic recovery, there is one important revenue and job-generating infrastructure project that will likely be left out of this year’s State of the Union: the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Washington Post reports that President Obama’s approval rating has seen a recent boost due to increased economic optimism partly caused by low gasoline prices. Current low fuel prices are a result of a stable crude supply from increased U.S. oil production and lower demand. Keystone XL will help further reduce instability in U.S. crude supply that causes spikes in gas prices, saving American consumers money. The president is benefiting politically from a resurgence in U.S. energy production but refuses to move forward on the KXL, a project that would help keep gas prices low and stable.
In addition to saving consumers money at the pump, research proves that the construction of the KXL will bring significant economic benefits. The State Department found that the project would support more than 42,000 jobs including 9,000 construction jobs. In the same report, the State Department also estimated that the project would provide a “substantial” boost for counties along the route, creating a property tax revenue benefit of 10 percent or more in 17 of the 27 counties in the first year of construction. By some estimates, the project will generate more than $20 billion in revenue for states through which the pipeline is built.
Instead of capitalizing on this important measure for economic growth, the president has delayed approval of the project for six years and is now threatening to veto any pro-Keystone legislation passed by Congress. By all measures, the Keystone XL pipeline is an economic winner. If the president is looking to take actions to spur the economy and save taxpayer money, approving the KXL is an obvious place to start.