Sep 13, 2011 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
The White House said Monday that the President Obama’s proposed national infrastructure bank could back $100 billion to $200 billion in new state and local road, bridge, mass transit and other projects over the next decade–it hopes in more “public-private” partnerships with funding from private investors.
That could increase the effective size of the President’s $450 billion jobs bill to the range of $550 billion to $650 billion, including new infrastructure spending from non-federal sources over the next 10 years. Administration officials claimed that potential greater impact would come at a minimal cost and risk to taxpayers.
According to the jobs legislation the White House released Monday, the bank would guarantee infrastructure project loans, putting taxpayers on the hook for losses.
But a senior administration official said any losses in the program would be minimized because federal support would be targeted to “economically viable” projects with dedicated revenue sources for loan repayments; direct loans and loan guarantees would be limited in size, and taxpayer subsidies would be conservatively estimated and structured, starting with just a $10 billion federal investment.
Supporters have said Washington guarantees through the bank would assist cash-strapped state and municipal governments by allowing project financing at lower interest rates.