President Obama just announced a series of plans intended to jump start the economy. One, somewhere near the bottom of the list, is for a new public infrastructure bank.
From the press release (emphasis ours):
The President proposes to fund a permanent infrastructure bank. This bank would leverage private and state and local capital to invest in projects that are most critical to our economic progress. This marks an important departure from the federal government’s traditional way of spending on infrastructure through earmarks and formula-based grants that are allocated more by geography and politics than demonstrated value. Instead, the Bank will base its investment decisions on clear analytical measures of performance, competing projects against each other to determine which will produce the greatest return for American taxpayers.
Details are scarce as to what the President’s plan actually entails, but an example of what it may look like is the EBRD, or European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
That bank is involved in all sorts of projects, infrastructure and otherwise, it considers key to the economic development of countries in Europe. It works together with private capital and investors, something the Obama plan suggests.
The actual bank may look more like the plan proposed by Senators Dodd and Hagel in 2007 (click through for PDF). That proposal included a bank that focused on projects such as:
Infrastructure projects that come under the Bank’s consideration are publicly-owned mass transit systems, housing properties, roads, bridges, drinking water systems, and wastewater systems.
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