The US has 19,000 public projects ready to go, with the potential to infuse $150 billion into the economy and put thousands of people to work, NPR reports. President Obama is pushing for immediate approval of the $700 billion economic stimulus bill to start paying for the work, but critics are urging a slower process to fully vet projects.
“We need to make sure that these investments are made wisely and that we don't have to sacrifice speed in order to get smart investments," says Brookings Institution transportation analyst Robert Puentes. Those investments, he says, should weigh long-term infrastructure improvements against short-term employment gains, as well as consider environmental and energy concerns.
(Read more Obama administration stories.)