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Obama visits Florida port, calls for more infrastructure growth

In his third event this week to push a long-term plan for investing in the middle class, President Obama on Thursday visited the Jacksonville Port Authority to point out how investments in infrastructure will help the nation thrive.

"If you want to create jobs right now but also jobs that will have impacts for years, here's how to do it," he said. "We know strong infrastructure is a key ingredient to a thriving economy."

The Jacksonville port terminal plans to expand its rail yard and container facility, and the projects should be expedited thanks to an executive order the president signed to minimize red tape on certain infrastructure projects. The president explained that the new ports will attract new businesses and build up the entire community. "The business of tomorrow will not locate near outdated ports," he said.

Updating infrastructure -- such as ports, power grids and schools -- are projects that will have to get done eventually, he added.

"We can't defer things that we know we're going to have to do and, by the way, would put people back to work right now doing them," Mr. Obama said. He pointed out that the nation is currenting investing less in "rebuilding America" than it was two decades ago, and is currently spending less on fixing infrastructure than Germany and China.

"The irony is, right now it's cheaper to build than it's been since the 1950s," Mr. Obama continued. "Now's the time for us to do it. The longer we put this off, the more expensive it will be, the less competitive we will be."

Mr. Obama's Jacksonville speech was the third of three speeches he's delivered this week to lay out his vision for economic growth. While this week's events were aimed at establishing a broad philosophy for his agenda, the president plans to get into more specifics next week. The White House said Mr. Obama will present some new policy ideas on Tuesday, when he visits the Amazon fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

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