President Obama’s jobs campaign will pivot back to infrastructure today when he delivers yet another speech in front of a bridge to make his case for more construction jobs.
Standing before the Key Bridge that connects Georgetown in Washington, D.C., to Arlington, Va., the president will urge Congress to pass the transportation piece of the American Jobs Act, which would invest $50 billion to rebuild the country’s roads and bridges.
“Construction workers have been among the Americans hit hardest over the past few years,” Obama said in a written statement. “And that makes no sense when there’s so much of America that needs rebuilding. This week, Congress has the chance to do something about it and pass a bill that will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports and transit systems. It’s a bill that includes the kinds of ideas both parties have voted for in the past. It’s paid for, and its ideas are supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people. It’s time for Congress to act.”
But even the White House admits that new funding for infrastructure would not be spent on Key Bridge until 2013. The District of Columbia has proposed a $20 million project to rehabilitate portions of the bridge.
The president has been criticized in the past for highlighting projects that are not “shovel ready” while claiming investments in infrastructure would create jobs immediately.
Obama made a similar call to action in September at the Brent Spence bridge that connects the home state of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s neighboring state of Kentucky.
At the time, Republicans assailed the president’s choice of location, saying it was politically motivated. The project to replace the “functionally obsolete” Brent Spence bridge was not slated for construction until 2015.