House believes National Infrastructure Bank is not necessary

T&I Committee members believe focus should be on passing a long-term highway bill

Funding News John Mica October 13, 2011
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House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee leaders, transportation officials and experts believe the creation of a new National Infrastructure Bank would add to the amount of red tape and federal bureaucracy that already slows down and diverts funding away from transportation and infrastructure projects. The House T&I Committee held a hearing about the strategy on Oct. 12.
Members of the committee and witnesses highlighted existing federal programs and authorities that could be strengthened to finance infrastructure projects more effectively than simply increasing the size of the government.
“If the [Obama] administration’s goal is to get people to work immediately, a National Infrastructure Bank that will require more than a year to create and $270 million to run is not the answer,” said T&I Committee Chair John Mica (R-Fla.). “That is funding that should be used for infrastructure, but would instead be used to create more red tape.”
Most at the hearing agreed that the main focus should be on expediting the cumbersome project-approval process, and creating the National Infrastructure Bank would make this goal almost impossible to meet.
Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee, said the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program (TIFIA) is already doing in essence the job of an infrastructure bank, and that more funding should be devoted to the already established program.
“This proposal is simply just another distraction as Congress pushes for a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill,” said Duncan. “The administration should be focused on helping Congress pass this much overdue legislation and give the states some long-term funding certainty that a National Infrastructure Bank would most certainly not accomplish.”

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