John Norquist of CNU wrote about the controversy back in January of last year on Planetizen.
Streetsblog has great coverage of the event, including this excerpt from the President acknowledging the tension:
"The tension we've been seeing is that what's good in the long term may not necessarily work as an immediate, short-term stimulus. We're still getting smacked around from the Recovery Act on this infrastructure generally has a longer tail. The term "shovel-ready," let's be honest here, doesn't always live up to its billing.
There is also a tension embodied in infrastructure between immediate maintenance [such as] repaving a highway, which is generally more shovel-ready but may imply duplicating the needs of the past as opposed to projects that are visionary and will deliver real bang for the buck in the long term but may require extensive planning."