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Undaunted by bullshit Republican lawsuits over his executive actions, President Obama is announcing another one today, in an effort do so something about the nation's crumbling infrastructure. In fact, in its fact sheet on the initiative, the White House is making it very clear that Obama is using his executive authority.
The President’s visit and announcement today are a part of the Administration’s continued push to highlight the importance of investing in our nation’s infrastructure so that we can build on the progress our economy is making by creating jobs and expanding opportunity for all hardworking Americans. The steps announced today continue the momentum the President has made using his executive authority —his pen and phone—to invest in modernizing our infrastructure, including speeding up the permitting process for major infrastructure projects to create more jobs. […]
And while the President is encouraged that Congress is heeding these calls by taking action in the short-term to prevent transportation projects across the country from grinding to a halt, the President will continue to act on his own to promote American economic growth where there is need or opportunity. And right now, there is a real opportunity to put private capital to work in revitalizing U.S. infrastructure.
The House passed an $11 billion short-term funding bill for the depleted highway trust fund, a measure that the White House supports, but which fails to address the real scope of infrastructure problems. The White House initiative will "increase infrastructure investment and economic growth by engaging with state and local governments and private sector investors to encourage collaboration, expand the market for public-private partnerships (PPPs) and put federal credit programs to greater use." That includes a new investment center in the Department of Transportation that will serve as a "one-stop shop" for state and local governments trying to secure private loans to underwrite construction projects. The center will provide technical assistance to those governments trying to find federal and private credit programs and capital.
Obama is also creating an interagency working group jointly chaired by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, to conduct a review of what options the federal government has to "expand and increase private investment and collaboration in infrastructure." Maximizing private investment and partnerships is key, so the plan includes an infrastructure investment summit in September that will match institutional investors, developers, and local governments.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 07:08 AM PDT.