- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

President Obama said Monday construction projects funded through his economic-stimulus package are being completed on time and under budget, which shows the $787 billion, taxpayer-funded effort is working.

“The road to recovery is long … but it’s now clear we’re headed in the right direction,” he said.

Mr. Obama used the midday press conference at Transportation Department headquarters in Washington to announce the 2,000th such project in the first 41 days of the program.

He said the road project will be in Portage, Mich., and that will start in June and provide 900 new jobs. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2011 and by that time could provided as many as 1,800 jobs.

Mr. Obama opened the event by praising the U.S. military for rescuing American ship Captain Richard Phillips. Capt. Phillips was held hostage for five days in the Indian Ocean by four Somali pirates. Navy sharpshooter killed three of the armed pirates in the rescue, on orders from the Obama administration to attempt to save the life of Capt. Phillips, if necessary.

“I want to say how pleased I am about the rescue,” Mr. Obama said in his opening remarks.

The president also said the United States is committed to “halting the rise of piracy” and preventing and punishing future acts.

Mr. Obama said the road-construction projects are now $8 million under budget and just part of his overall stimulus plan, which includes recent tax cuts for workers.

He said his transportation-project initiative — the biggest since the Eisenhower administration’s State Highway System in the 1950s — also has cancelled layoffs, reduced congestion and made roads safer.

“It’s safe to say this plan is beginning to work,” Mr. Obama said.

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