The White House released specifics today on the job growth plan President Obama coined as his “fix-it-first” policy during his State of the Union address. The plan allocates $50 billion for investment in US infrastructure, with 80 percent of that going towards the reparation of highways, bridges, transit systems, and airports most in need of repair.
“Repair and maintenance of our existing roads, bridges and public transportation systems should take priority before we consider investing in new facilities,” The White House said in a press release “This will ensure that our cities are safer and more modern.”
There are 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the US, a number that Daily Show host Jon Stewart saw as cause for alarm. The White House claims that the plan unveiled today could bring nearly 80 percent of those bridges up to date. Perhaps Stewart can now breathe a bit easier.
The plan calls for a “Rebuild America Partnership” that would attract private investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Part of this initiative involves the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank that would leverage private and public capital to support both national and regional infrastructure projects.
New “America Fast Forward” bonds would replicate the success of the “Build America Bonds” funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The hope is that these new bonds would attract new sources of capital such as from public pension funds and foreign investors that do not receive a tax benefit from traditional tax-exempt debt.
The plan also calls for the implementation of the newly expanded program created under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. The TIFIA program provides direct loans, loan guarantees, and lines of credit to transportation projects and received an 800 percent increase in its funding during the recent surface transportation reauthorization.
The White House asserts that by acting on President Obama’s job growth plan, “we can prove that there is no better place to do business and create jobs than right here in the United States of America.”
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