President Barack Obama took to the White House Rose Garden this morning, facing reporters to announce hopes for a bipartisan plan for funding massive infrastructure upgrades across the nation he says will create jobs.
One of those projects already underway is construction of a high-speed rail system that will begin with a line between Tampa and Orlando. The project will be the nation’s first test case for high-speed rail, putting pressure on the Florida Department of Transportation to pull off the $2.6 billion project.
Surveying work is already underway on the project, which is slated to result in an 84-mile line between Tampa and Orlando. FDOT officials have not yet begun taking bids from contractors who want to build and operate the system, but companies from several foreign nations have expressed interest.
Obama also called for massive upgrades of hundreds of thousands of miles of roadways across the nation, as well as bridge improvements.
“This is America, we have always had the best infrastructure,” he told reporters.
Obama also projected that work on the upgrades and rail system would create jobs for a struggling construction industry, in which the president said one in five constructions workers are unemployed. FDOT officials have pledged that the high-speed rail project will create 5,000 jobs in Florida, where the real estate collapse decimated the construction business.