Groups 'thrilled' by Obama's call for infrastructure investment

"The President came right out and said that investment in transportation and other infrastructure is central to rebuilding and growing our economy," said David Goldberg, communications director for Transportation for America. "He acknowledged that money will be tight and we have to make the best of use it. That means fixing the crumbling roads and bridges before we build more of them, first and foremost. But it also means building out the rest of a 21st-century system....We eagerly await the ‘flesh on the bones’ that must come with the administration’s outline for the overdue, six-year transportation package that Congress is suppose to take up this year."

John Horsley, the executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials also used the speech to push for Congress to pass a new transportation authorization bill this year. The last transportation bill expired in Sept. 2009, and has been extended by several short-term measures since then.

"We continue to be encouraged that President Obama supports investing in America's transportation infrastructure," he said. "We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to pass a new transportation authorization bill this year to ensure we have a safe and efficient transportation system that can create and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs, and that will continue to support our recovering economy."

Leading labor and business groups both hailed the president for his call to remake the nation's infrastructure.

"We strongly support the President’s vision on infrastructure to create good jobs and succeed in a global economy, and working people are ready to work with him and hold him to his promises," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

"Tonight President Obama highlighted the urgent need to revitalize our economy, create jobs, build a world-class infrastructure system, and strengthen America’s competitiveness in his State of the Union address," said Tom Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "America must move swiftly to create millions of jobs, unshackle entrepreneurs and small businesses, and restore America’s economic leadership around the globe—or we will be left behind."