NEW YORK TIMES: WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama committed Saturday to the largest public works construction program since the creation of the interstate highway system a half-century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy.With unemployment on the rise and no end to the recession in sight, Mr. Obama began highlighting elements of the economic recovery program he is trying to fashion with Congressional leaders in hopes of being able to enact it shortly after being sworn in on Jan. 20.
Mr. Obama’s remarks sought to expand the definition of traditional work programs for the middle class, like infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, while also pushing a federal effort to bring in new-era jobs in technology and so-called green jobs.
Although he put no price tag on it, he said he would invest record amounts of money in the vast infrastructure program, which also includes work on schools, sewer systems, mass transit, electric grids, dams and other public utilities. He vowed to upgrade computers in schools, expand broadband Internet access, make government buildings more energy efficient and improve information technology at hospitals and doctors’ offices.
“We need action — and action now,” Mr. Obama, said in an address taped for broadcast Saturday morning on radio and YouTube. The address followed the latest grim economic report indicating that the country lost 533,000 jobs in November alone, bringing the total job loss over the past year to nearly 2 million. Although Mr. Obama remains weeks away from taking office, the report heightened pressure on him to assert leadership before his inauguration. MORE