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Obama Promotes US Infrastructure Spending

U.S. President Barack Obama has made his third trip this week to build public support for his plan to stimulate the nation's economy. Mr. Obama visited a road construction project near Washington to make his case for spending more federal funds to rebuild infrastructure.

President Obama stood near a road being built, in an area long known for traffic congestion, and said building new infrastructure is a big part of his plan for reviving the economy.

"Look around us. Look at this construction site. Right where we are standing, we are surrounded by unmet needs and unfinished business. In our schools, in our roads, in the systems we employ to treat the sick, in the energy we use to power our homes," he said.

Mr. Obama is proposing what he says is the largest increase in infrastructure spending since President Dwight Eisenhower created the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.

"We will invest more than $100 billion and create nearly 400,000 jobs rebuilding our roads, our railways, our dangerously deficient dams, bridges and levees," he said.

The president said funding infrastructure projects will also help create jobs in other areas of the economy. He specifically mentioned the Caterpillar company, which makes much of the heavy equipment used in road projects. Caterpillar recently announced more than 20,000 layoffs.

"And today, the Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar said that if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan passes, his company would be able to rehire some of those employees," he said.

Mr. Obama is to talk to affected workers at a Caterpillar factory Thursday in Peoria, Illinois.

"What is at stake here are not abstract numbers or abstract concepts," he said. "We are talking about real families that we can help and real jobs that we can save."

Mr. Obama traveled to Indiana and Florida this week to promote his economic recovery plan.