Obama on 10,000th Recovery Act Project: a ‘Big Deal’

By Alex Pepper

Jun 18, 2010 4:47pm

Kirit Radia reports: At a road construction project funded by the Recovery Act in Columbus, Ohio today the President tried to jumpstart talk of, in the White House’s own words, a ‘Recovery Summer’ ahead of this year’s midterm elections. “I return to Columbus to mark a milestone on the road to recovery: the 10,000th project launched under the recovery act. That’s worth a big round of applause,” President Obama said, standing next to several construction workers and a bevy of officials. President Obama paraphrased his VP’s take on the health care bill’s passage, saying this is a “big <pause> deal.” Livingston Avenue in Columbus is being widened with stimulus dollars, and is expected to generate 300 construction jobs in the area. The White House says this project is the 10,000th one funded by the Recovery Act since it was passed last year. “I think it’s fitting that we’ve reached this milestone here in this community, because what you’re doing here is a perfect example of the kind of innovation and coordination and renewal that the recovery act is driving all across the country. A lot of people came together to make this day possible — business and government, grassroots organizations, ordinary citizens who are committed to this city’s futures. And what you’re starting here is more than just a project to repair a road. It’s a partnership to transform a community,” the president said. He also struck back at lawmakers who say continued investments would be too costly. “The truth is, if we want to keep on adding jobs, we want to keep on raising incomes, if we want to keep growing both our economy and our middle class, if we want to ensure that Americans can compete with any nation in the world, we’re going to have to get serious about our long-term vision for this country and we’re going to have to get serious about our infrastructure. And I want to say a few words about infrastructure generally,” he said, reiterating his call for more infrastructure investments in transportation and internet connectivity. “We’ve got a huge backlog of work just with the infrastructure that we’ve got. They could put hundreds of thousands of people to work all across the country just repairing roads that we already have and fixing sewer lines that are badly in need of repair,” he said. President Obama was joined on stage by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Lt Gov Lee Fisher, and Mayor Michael Coleman. He was accompanied from Washington by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and several members of Congress. The audience of about 35 elected officials and workers was outnumbered by the press corps. According to the White House, Columbus and surrounding Franklin County have received $729 million from the Recovery Act. -Kirit Radia

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