and clearly, the President of the United States feels that way, as well. With this recovery package, we’ll be creating jobs, saving jobs, and putting money in people’s pockets. That’s what this is about — getting America moving again. And with the resources being allocated today, we won’t only rebuild the roads and highways and bridges, we’re going to rebuild this nation. This is the first step in rebuilding America.
And the man who is the chief architect of that rebuilding project I’d like to introduce to you now. Ladies and gentleman, your President and mine, the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. (Applause.)
President Barack Obama: Thank you. Thank you, DOT. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Please, have a seat. Thank you. Vice President Biden, Secretary LaHood, our co-chairs of the TIGER team, Lana Hurdle and Joel Szabat. Thank you all for the extraordinary work that you guys are doing each and every day.
I want to begin with some plain talk: The economy’s performance in the last quarter of 2008 was the worst in over 25 years. And, frankly, the first quarter of this year holds out little promise for better returns.
From Wall Street to Main Street to kitchen tables all across America, our economic challenge is clear. And now it is up to us to meet it.
One of the challenges is to jumpstart lending, so businesses and families can finance the purchases of everything from inventory and payroll to a home, a car, or a college education. We have to jumpstart the credit markets and get private lending going again. No matter how good of a job we do here, that’s going to be critical. And that’s why the Treasury and the Federal Reserve are launching today the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative, which, when fully implemented, will generate up to a trillion dollars of new lending for the American people. And this will help unlock our frozen credit markets, which is absolutely essential for economic recovery.
But we also know that there cannot be a sustained recovery unless and until we put Americans back to work and put money in their pockets.
Two weeks ago, I signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the most sweeping economic recovery plan in history. And already, its impact is being felt across this nation. Hardworking families can now worry a little less about next month’s bills because of the tax cut they’ll soon find in the mail. Renewable energy companies that were once downsizing are now finding ways to expand. And transportation projects that were once on hold are now starting up again — as part of the largest new investment in America’s infrastructure since President Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System.
Of the 3.5 million jobs that will be created and saved over the next two years as a result of this recovery plan, 400,000 will be jobs rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools, repairing our faulty levees and dams, connecting nearly every American to broadband, and upgrading the