Obama to push for more infrastructure spending in speech

President Obama will push for new infrastructure projects and investments as he hits the road again Thursday, traveling this time to Jacksonville, Fla., for his third consecutive speech on the economy.

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The event at the city's port comes fresh on the heels of the president's much-hyped economic address Wednesday in Illinois, where he claimed credit for the economic recovery and argued that his progressive economic policies would benefit the middle class.

He also challenged congressional Republicans, daring them to propose alternative solutions to aid in the recovery and accusing them of obsessing over "phony scandals" for short-term political gain.

Obama will continue to target the GOP in his speech Thursday, according to a White House official.

"While in Jacksonville, the president will continue to talk about the cornerstones of middle-class security and discuss specifically how the House Republican budget approach poses a risk to the progress we’ve made in each area, including jobs, education, housing and healthcare," the official said.

The White House chose the port as the site of the speech because it is home to two projects — a container terminal and a rail yard — that the administration expedited last year as part of a broader infrastructure push.

"Expediting permitting projects through executive action is just one example of how the president can and will act through his own authority to promote our economic progress while still pushing Congress to pass legislation to grow the economy and create jobs," the White House official said.

In his speech in Illinois on Wednesday, Obama said his remarks would "offer new ideas for doing what America has always done best, which is building things."

"We’ve got ports that aren’t ready for the new supertankers that are going to begin passing through the new Panama Canal in two years’ time," Obama said. "If we don’t get that done, those tankers are going to go someplace else."

The president made a similar visit to the Port of Miami in March, when he touted a series of tax breaks and loans designed to stimulate private investment in infrastructure. He also called on Congress to fund a $10 billion infrastructure bank to aid in those efforts.

At the time, House Republicans said they also wanted to upgrade the nation's roads and bridges — if the costs were offset in other parts of the federal budget.

“It’s easy to go out there and be Santa Claus and talk about all the things you want to give away,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. “But at some point, somebody has to pay the bill.”

Before speaking in Jacksonville, the president and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will tour the container terminal that was expedited under executive order.