COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 18 (UPI) -- President Obama, bathed in sunlight on a Columbus, Ohio, street corner Friday, kicked off the 10,000th road project funded with economic stimulus money.
Since last year, Ohio has had about 450 transportation projects either in progress or completed, employing more than 100,000 Ohioans because of funding made possible through the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Obama told the audience.
"Today I return to Columbus to mark a milestone on the road to recovery: the 10,000th project launch under the Recovery Act," he said. "These projects haven't just improved communities. They've put thousands of construction crews to work. They've spurred countless small businesses to hire ... ."
"This is a big (pause) deal," Obama said, hearkening back to Vice President Joe Biden's whispered expletive-spiced remark during the signing of the healthcare reform bill.
With the city repairing infrastructure and nearby Nationwide Children's Hospital expanding its operations, the new jobs are "sending a powerful message that this neighborhood will soon be a place where more families can thrive, more businesses can prosper, [and] economic development that's being sparked today is going to continue into the future," Obama said.
Despite economic and employments improvements during the year, Obama said "I'm under no illusion that we're where we need to be yet."
"If we're going to rebuild America's economy, then we've got to rebuild America period," Obama said.
Repairing infrastructure must be paired with investments in technology projects such as electronic medical records, high-speed Internet and clean energy "to make sure we (globally) are first in the future, not just in the past."
"That's why the recovery is just beginning -- just the beginning of the investments we're going to have to make for years on our infrastructure," Obama said.