Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken, launched his proposal before a friendly crowd at Duluth's annual Labor Day picnic.
Democratic 8th District Rep. Jim Oberstar was at his side, and Franken says the proposal was inspired by Oberstar. In fact, the plan mirrors one now before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which Oberstar chairs.
"I'm calling for a new stimulus package," Franken said. "One that is specifically designed to create jobs and bolster the middle class economy, while at the same time doing something that our economy badly needs; rebuilding our infrastructure and investing in new transportation options."
The plan calls for $2 billion for projects that could get underway within 90 days, including deferred maintenance on infrastructure like roads and bridges.
Franken also wants to spend one billion dollars in loans or grants to states for railroad projects; specifically, projects that efficiently combine transportation systems, like truck trailers carried on rail cars.
He says the investments will generate significant jobs at a time that unemployment is rising.
"According to the Department of Transportation, each billion dollars we spend on transportation and infrastructure creates as many as 47,000 new jobs," Franken said. "So my plan would create as many as 150,000 new, good-paying, middle class jobs."
Franken says he intends to pay for his proposal by tapping $7 billion now dedicated to rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq. That's something Franken first proposed last month.
The government in Iraq, he says, is running an $80 billion surplus and doesn't need the money.
"So, I proposed last week that we not send that $7 billion to Iraq," he said. "They have over $30 billion sitting in our banks gathering interest. So I would pay that $7 billion would more than pay for my stimulus package."
A spokesman for incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman declined an interview but the campaign provided a written response.
They say Franken's plans, if implemented, would threaten funds designated for emergency response by American troops in the field. The campaign says Coleman has a more prudent approach to identify funds that can be rescinded without threatening American troop security, or pulling the rug out of an increasingly stable Iraq.