White House Launches Infrastructure Initiative
The Build America Transportation Investment Center, housed at DOT, will be a one-stop shop for state and local governments, public and private developers, and investors to utilize innovative financing strategies for projects.
President Obama on July 17 announced he’s taking executive action to create the Build America Investment Initiative, described in a White House release as "a government-wide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth." Included in it is the Build America Transportation Investment Center, which is housed at DOT and will be a one-stop shop for cities and states, developers, and investors seeking to use innovative financing and partnerships with the private sector to support transportation projects.
According to the release, the president supports the steps Congress is taking in the short-term to avoid a lapse in the Highway Trust Fund but will continue to push for long-term solutions. The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5021, a bill that would fund surface transportation projects through May 2015, by a 367-55 vote on July 15, and the bill is pending in the U.S. Senate.
The Build America Interagency Working Group also has been created. Co-chaired by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the working group will work "with state and local governments, project developers, investors, and others to address barriers to private investments and partnerships in areas including municipal water, ports, harbors, broadband, and the electrical grid," according to the release. It also will focus on improving coordination to accelerate financing and completion of projects of regional and national significance, particularly those that cross state boundaries. And the Treasury Department will host a summit on U.S. infrastructure investment on Sept. 9, 2014.