It’s come down to jobs. President Obama plans a speech in September that will outline an action plan to stimulate employment in the U.S. He knows his re-election chances depend very much on the degree to which significant progress can be made in putting Americans back to work.
Lately, the President has highlighted in his speeches how severely the housing crisis has cut into construction jobs. And that overall employment in the country continues to suffer from the lack of work available in the home-building sector.
He says he’d like to find other projects for laid off residential-sector workers to build. Roads and highways and other needed infrastructure projects are obvious alternatives. To be suitable, however, such projects must allow a certain degree of substitutability between construction skills.
How such an initiative will fit in with budget tightening efforts in the House of Representatives is anybody’s guess. I think many people figured the wave of Washington’s stimulus spending on infrastructure projects was already in the past.
In Canada, pent-up demand for public sector projects is being facilitated by new financing alternatives. P3 projects (public-private partnerships) have proven very popular in moving work from the proposal stage to shovels in the ground.