WASHINGTON — President Obama today cited the dilapidated state of the Cumberland Mills Bridge in Westbrook as evidence of the need for Congress to pass his jobs bill.

“In Maine, there is a bridge that is in such bad shape that pieces of it were literally falling off the other day,” Obama said at a White House news conference this morning called to promote the jobs bill. “And, meanwhile, we’ve got millions of laid-off construction workers who could right now be busy rebuilding roads, rebuilding bridges, rebuilding schools. This jobs bill gives them a chance to get back to work rebuilding America. “

Willy Ritch, spokesman for Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said he called the White House to ask which bridge the president had in mind, and was informed it was the Cumberland Mills Bridge.

Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan would include a large chunk of funding for infrastructure projects. Congressional Republicans oppose most of the tax increases Obama has proposed to pay for the plan, although many Republicans back some of Obama’s agenda, including an extension of a Social Security payroll tax reduction.

A number of congressional Democrats, meanwhile, also have been lukewarm toward the overall plan. Many have been leery of Obama’s primary funding mechanism, an increase in taxes for households making more than $250,000, and Senate Democrats have countered with a proposal to raise taxes just on households making more than $1 million.

Pingree has been a supporter of Obama’s plan, and reiterated her support today, saying it would provide money for infrastructure projects such as the Westbrook bridge as well as money for communities to keep teachers and first responders on the job and hire new ones.

“Maine would stand to get a minimum of $138 million (under Obama’s plan) – to fix roads and bridges, and this bridge in Westbrook is just one of the examples of our crumbling highway system,” Pingree said.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: [email protected] Twitter: Twitter.com/MaineTodayDC.

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