But neither his administration nor Congress has been able to come up with financing to supplement the gasoline tax, which no longer provides sufficient revenue for road-building.
Obama noted that Atlantic ports are not prepared to handle the supertankers that will be coming through the widened Panama Canal in 2015. What has his administration been doing about that?
Infrastructure was not the only policy on which the president provided slogans rather than specifics. He called for expansion of tax-free savings programs as part of tax reform. But has the administration made any serious effort to engage with the tax-writing committee chairmen on the subject?
Similarly, he decried high earners' "generous tax incentives to save" -- whatever those may be. But any hope of increasing revenues from high earners depends on a Democratic takeover of the House next year.
Obama called for giving every homeowner a chance to refinance their mortgages, something that many have done, although administration programs to do so have helped far fewer than predicted.
And, ominously, he added, "I'm also acting on my own to cut red tape for responsible families who want to get a mortgage, but the bank says no." But didn't granting mortgages to non-creditworthy borrowers trigger the collapse of the housing market?
Inevitably, Obama talked about the Affordable Care Act and predicted gamely that people will be able to "comparison shop in an online marketplace, just like you would for TVs or plane tickets," even as fellow Democrats are predicting a train wreck.
But Obamacare is, as recent polling suggests, an increasingly hard sell. Voters seem to have gotten the idea that it's causing businesses not to hire or to cut back workers' hours.
The problem Obama faces on this latest pivot to the economy is that most voters believe his policies have retarded rather than stimulated economic growth and job creation. This speech is not likely to change their minds.