President Obama said the jobs plan he unveils Thursday will include proposals to put unemployed construction workers busy with new road and bridge projects.
He told a Labor Day audience at a General Motors plant in Detroit that “we’re going to lay out a new way forward on jobs to grow the economy and put more Americans back to work right now.”
While Obama said he would not say much in advance about what was in the plan, “I'll give you just a little bit,” and then tied job creation to a public works program built on transportation projects.
The president had been expected to include infrastructure spending ideas in his jobs plan, and has used numerous public events in recent weeks to link those needs.
Last week and in his weekend weekly address he also called on Congress to pass a clean extension of surface transportation programs that expire on Sept. 30, so that current Highway Trust Fund disbursements to states and the trust fund’s tax collections are not interrupted. And he directed federal agencies to list and fast-track their highest priority infrastructure projects.
But he suggested to the Detroit audience that creating more jobs should include additional infrastructure spending.
“We’ve got roads and bridges across this country that need rebuilding,” Obama said. “We’ve got private companies with the equipment and the manpower to do the building. We’ve got more than 1 million unemployed construction workers ready to get dirty right now.”
That could face a hard sell in Congress, where conservative GOP officials including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., have already said they will oppose new stimulus spending, while others challenge Obama’s leadership on transportation.
The president said, however, that both labor and business groups are on board with the idea of putting more people to work on transportation projects, so “we just need Congress to get on board.”