Last week, I visited the Port of Miami to see firsthand how job creators in this country are making, innovating and exporting "Made in America' goods.
The port was busy with container ships on-loading goods for export. But if the Port doesn't make some changes to their infrastructure, they risk losing out on business from the new, larger container ships that will start flowing through the Panama Canal in 2014.
So they are beginning work on a major transportation tunnel and a deep-dredge project that will provide jobs for construction workers today, and keep the Port of Miami among the busiest in the nation.
Around the country there are projects like these that will get construction workers on the job site immediately, and represent huge economic opportunities in the long term. That is why President Obama proposed investments in infrastructure in his American Jobs Act to create construction jobs rebuilding America's roadways, railways, transit systems, and airports.
In 2005, the World Economic Forum ranked America's infrastructure the best in the world. Today, we aren't even in the top 10.
We've got roads, locks, bridges and tunnels that are crumbling. Our ports, dams and rail lines need rebuilding. Rural America is home to 65% of our interstate highways. Too many need repair. And small businesses know how important these roads are to keep commerce going.
At the same time, there are private companies with the equipment and know-how to rebuild this nation. And more than one million unemployed construction workers are ready to go to work now.
We can capitalize on this opportunity today by passing President Obama's American Jobs Act -- which includes $50 billion in immediate investments in infrastructure, prioritizing projects by need and impact.
This investment is a job-creation plan. We just need folks in Congress to come together and get it done.
For generations, our nation's leaders have invested in the infrastructure that made us a superpower. We built railroads and ports -- like the one I visited in Miami -- so we can ship our goods from small towns in the heartland to foreign nations. We brought electricity to rural America and created the interstate highway system.
There are no Republican bridges or Democratic roads. But rebuilding them can put Americans to work today, and strengthen our economy in the long term. That is why I hope that folks in Washington DC can remember what Americans in our small towns know so well: that in difficult times, we need to come together and find solutions that help us all.