WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama met with 250 of the nation's mayor's on Thursday -- including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake -- to discuss the economy, manufacturing and federal investment in infrastructure.

City officials are in Washington for the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Rawlings-Blake is the second vice president of the bipartisan group.

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with the mayors at the White House days before the president is set to deliver the State of the Union address. Several mayors said Obama offered a broad preview of the speech, which he gives Tuesday, and said they expect it will touch on challenges faced in city halls. 

For her part, Rawlings-Blake renewed calls for an increased emphasis on federal infrastructure investment, which she said would boost the economy and help city residents left behind during the slow recovery. Obama has repeatedly called for increased infrastructure spending, though the idea has gained little traction in Congress.

"We used to lead the way when it came to transit and now there are other countries around the world that are leaving us in the dust," Rawlings-Blake said shortly after the meeting.

As part of their annual gathering this week, the mayors group release a report that predicts widespread economic growth this year in cities and metro areas. The report forecast all but seven of the nation's 363 metro areas to experience growth in 2014, compared with 2013, when 97 regions managed declines.