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ROADS/BRIDGES: Obama launches infrastructure bank

Build America Transportation Investment Center will assist in financing strategies for transportation infrastructure projects

News Anthony Foxx blog, White House Blog July 21, 2014
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President Barack Obama traveled to the port of Wilmington, Del., last week to talk about creating jobs and his latest initiative to rebuild America’s transportation infrastructure.
 
The president spoke near the site of the I-495 bridge. The work to construct new underground foundations for the damaged portion of the I-495 bridge is nearing completion, and the construction of the jacking towers that will be used to temporarily repair the I-495 bridge has begun. Building the jacking towers at this point in the project means the work is now advancing ahead of schedule, and if all continues to go smoothly, could allow I-495 to open several weeks prior to the Labor Day holiday weekend.
 
Noting that the bridge used to carry 90,000 cars a day, the president explained that it has been closed for repairs since last month, when it was discovered that four of the bridge’s 37 support columns were tilted as much as 4% out of vertical alignment.
 
Discussing how much the economy has rebounded over the past few years, the president explained that we have a "huge opportunity to keep this momentum going . . . but also to make sure that growth is broadly shared."
 
Earlier this year, President Obama put together a plan to rebuild America's transportation infrastructure over the long term.
 
“But so far, Congress has refused to act on the idea,” Obama said, “which is strange because infrastructure should not be a partisan issue. . . . Both parties historically have understood that investing in this country for the long run pays off. When we invest in infrastructure we’re making sure that the economy is growing not just for the next five years, but for another century. That's what right now Republicans in Congress don't seem to be focused on. But until they do get focused on it, I’m going to do whatever I can to create jobs rebuilding America on my own.”
 
The president announced the launch of the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth.
 
“One part of that initiative that we're particularly proud of at DOT is the Build America Transportation Investment Center,” Anthony Foxx wrote in his blog, “our new one-stop shop for state and local governments, public and private developers, and investors seeking financing strategies for transportation infrastructure projects.
 
“The center will provide:
 
‘One-Stop Shopping’ for the Public and Private Sector: Offering hands-on support for states and local governments trying to access DOT programs and assemble public-private funding packages. Also offering tools and resources for private sector developers and infrastructure investors.
 
Improved Access to DOT Credit Programs: Focusing on key DOT programs that leverage credit to generate further financing, including TIFIA, Private Activity Bonds (PABs), and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans.
 
Technical Assistance: Sharing best practices from states that are leading the way on private investment with states that have not yet adopted innovative financing strategies.
 
Information to Reduce Uncertainty and Delays: Partnering with the DOT Infrastructure Permitting Improvement Center to help local and state governments, project sponsors, and investors ensure that projects are designed and financed to move expeditiously through permitting requirements."

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