Obama Will Propose Infrastructure Spending as Next Step in Recovery

Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:37am

Updated: 1:31 p.m.

President Barack Obama will unveil an infrastructure spending proposal during his Labor Day speech in Milwaukee on Monday as part of a larger package of economic initiatives he will outline Wednesday.

The multiyear infrastructure plan would expand and renew roads, railways and runways to create jobs. It builds on investments begun under the economic stimulus law, according to a White House statement released Monday morning.

Over six years, the plan would rebuild 150,000 miles of roads, build 4,000 miles of rail, rehabilitate or reconstruct 150 miles of runway and install the modernized air traffic control system known as “NextGen.” Public transit systems, high-speed rail and Amtrak would also get a boost.

The White House would work with Congress to secure a $50 billion up-front investment in infrastructure, as well as a long-term reauthorization. The White House says it would seek to fully pay for the plan.

The president’s plan would move “away from the earmarks and formula debates” of past infrastructure spending by setting up an infrastructure bank, the statement said. The bank would focus on investing in economically important projects, as determined by “competing projects against each other to determine which will produce the greatest return for American taxpayers.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized the administration for choosing “to double-down on more of the same failed ‘stimulus’ spending.”

“If we’ve learned anything from the past 18 months, it’s that we can’t spend our way to prosperity,” he said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “We don’t need more government ‘stimulus’ spending — we need to end Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree, stop their tax hikes, and create jobs by eliminating the job-killing uncertainty that is hampering our small businesses.”

Obama will announce further proposals aimed at underpinning an economic recovery during an address Wednesday in Cleveland. He will also hold his first solo news conference in four months on Friday in Washington.