Obama travels to Delaware to tout new infrastructure program


McClatchy Washington Bureau

President Barack Obama will travel to the Port of Wilmington in Delaware Thursday to announce a new executive action to spur private investment in infrastructure spending.

The new program, created by executive memorandum, Build America Investment Initiative will include the Build America Transportation Investment Center – housed at the Department of Transportation – to serve as a one-stop shop for cities and states to more easily partner with private companies, expand the market for public-private partnerships and put federal credit programs to greater use.

Obama created an inter-agency working group to review public and private infrastrure financing and will hold a summit on infrastructure investment in Sept. 9.

Director of the National Economic Council Jeff Zients said the program will “turbocharge” investment in roads, rails and bridges. “If we don’t act we can lose our competitive edge,” he told reporters.

White House officials say Obama supports the steps that Congress is taking in the short-term to avoid a lapse in the Highway Trust Fund but will continue to push for a longer-term solution to funding. He has introduced a four-year plan to pay for spending by closing tax loopholes.

“Nothing should be a substitute for adequate public financing,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

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