Gibbs addresses president’s comment on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs

Amanda Carey Contributor
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In a press briefing Thursday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs addressed President Obama’s comment in a recent interview with the New York Times regarding the stimulus and “shovel-ready projects.” In the interview, Obama curiously said that he realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

“Well, I — look, there are more than 75,000 job-creating projects have been started as a result of the infrastructure investment in the — in the Recovery Act,” said Gibbs.

He continued: “Did every project start as quickly as you would have hoped? No. But 75,000 have. Investment in each state in improving the infrastructure of the roads, the bridges, the airports. Fundamental investment in building a foundation for a stronger tomorrow which was necessary and needed, and was — has created jobs, has led to economic growth.”

“The president has no second thoughts about that,” Gibbs added.

When the stimulus package was passed in early 2009, a lot of ballyhoo was made over “shovel-ready” projects. Those (defined as projects that could start within 90 days) were, according to the Obama administration, the key to economic recovery and stimulus success.

They also quickly became the administration’s number-one selling point in making the case for their economic policies. And as a result, everyone from universities to construction companies, to small-town mayors were coming up with lists of such projects.

The mayors especially did not hesitate to request stimulus dollars for projects they deemed shovel ready. In 2008 and 2009, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released several reports detailing projects that were “ready to go,” saying

The reports were widely criticized at the time, as projects like making wheelchair ramps for the curbs of Tacoma, Washington and environmentally-friendly golf courses in Ventura, California seemed just not serious enough for spurring a recovery of the nation’s economy. But nonetheless, they were acknowledged to be shovel –ready and job-creating.

When contacted by the Daily Caller about the president’s remark, a spokesperson for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who also serves as the Second Vice President for the US Conference of Mayors, declined to comment