President Barack Obama renewed calls for a $50 billion infrastructure initiative to repair roads, railways and airports as the unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.6 percent.
The plan, which would set up an infrastructure bank funded by ending particular tax benefits for oil and gas companies, could be the “antidote” for such stagnant employment numbers, according to The Washington Post.
“Nearly one in five construction workers is still unemployed and needs a job,” Obama said in remarks to reporters in Rose Garden, The Post reported. “And that makes absolutely no sense when so much of America needs rebuilding.”
In those same remarks, Obama said the jobless are ready to get to work, and the only thing lacking “is the political will.”
Obama first proposed the infrastructure spending on Labor Day, however, new reports by the Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers have given the plan a new boost, Politico reports.
That report stated it was the “optimal time” to begin spending on infrastructure and public works projects, The Post reports.
The bipartisan duo of former Treasury Secretaries Sam Skinner and Norman Mineta last week released a report that called for the federal government to spend at least $134 billion for basic repairs on the nation’s infrastructure.
But The Post reports that higher figure is unlikely because of concerns over the federal deficit ahead of the congressional mid-term elections.