The departments—Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Transportation—have 30 days to identify the projects.

Obama also said that when Congress comes back into session after Labor Day, “we’re going to have to have a serious conversation in this country about making real, lasting investments in our infrastructure—from better ports to a smarter electric grid; from high-speed Internet to high-speed rail.”

Obama plans to deliver a major speech on job creation after Labor Day.  He requested a joint session of Congress on September 7 as the venue. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded by proposing Sept. 8, citing "considerations  regarding the congressional calendar," and the lenghty time needed for a security sweep of the House chamber."