Obama Pitches Public Works Spending, Private-Sector Involvement, to Create Jobs

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MIAMI (AP) - President Barack Obama is trying to show that the economy remains a top priority -- with a visit to Florida today to promote a plan that would create construction and other jobs.

The plan is aimed at attracting private money to help rebuild roads, bridges and other public works projects.

Obama outlined the plan at a Miami port that is undergoing $2 billion in upgrades -- paid for with government and private dollars.

He said even though the unemployment rate among construction workers has been cut in half over the past three years, it's still the highest of any industry. Obama said rebuilding the nation's infrastructure is a way to create jobs and strengthen the economy over the long run.

The proposals would need approval from Congress. They include $4 billion in new spending on two infrastructure programs that award loans and grants. He's also urging higher caps on what are called "private activity bonds." They're used by state and local governments to attract investment.

In Obama's State of the Union speech last month, private-sector investment in infrastructure was a key part of his economic agenda.