Is Gary Johnson right about shovel-ready jobs? 5 infrastructure challenges.

Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson scored a rhetorical winner by saying that his neighbor's dogs 'have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.' But the one-liner doesn't settle the debate over infrastructure and the economy.

By , Staff writer

2. Didn't the US already spend big bucks on infrastructure?

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    The proposed Indian Street Bridge connecting Palm City and Stuart in Florida was considered 'shovel ready' more than two years ago when it won federal funds. But construction has barely begun.
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Yes, the $787 billion American Reinvestment and Recovery Act included sizable spending on things like bridges and airports – some $48 billion for transportation. Proponents of infrastructure spending, including business groups, say that's just a down payment on meeting the nation's long-term needs.

But why right now? Well, creating jobs in the short run is very much on the president's radar – both because lots of Americans want jobs and because he wants to keep his own when the 2012 election rolls around.

Conservative critics say the Obama administration's original stimulus efforts didn't live up to expectations for job creation, despite all the talk about "shovel ready" projects. And they are wary of rushing more such money out the door. The White House itself says the next round of infrastructure spending should include "innovative reforms to ensure that the best projects get financing."

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