President-elect to 'lay groundwork for long-term growth' by building infrastructure

Barack Obama has pledged to spend his way out of the looming recession through a huge construction programme.

The president-elect made the announcement yesterday as he introduced the senior members of his economic team at a press conference in Chicago, saying “We do not have a minute to waste” on resurrecting the country's failing economy.

Barack Obama
Obama: "We do not have a minute to waste"

Obama said his stimulus package, which would see a massive construction programme for roads, schools, bridges and energy schemes, would “lay the groundwork for long-term sustained economic growth”.

Although he refused to give an estimate of the cost, the future US president admitted his package would be “costly”, and the new chairman of the national economic council, Larry Summers, suggested it would need to be as large as $700bn (£463bn).

With an aim of creating 2.5 million jobs by 2011, the new president's spending agenda promises to be the biggest public works programme since the New Deal that aimed to push the US out of the Great Depression in the thirties.

Obama said he wants to “hit the ground running” when he takes office on 20 January.