Nancy Pelosi proposes infrastructure bank

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This is the sort of thing that could save the US. Besides getting people working, if the proects are chosen thoughtfully travel time & costs could be reduced by eliminating bottlenecks, congestion, etc. Materials are almost always produced locally also, which would create more jobs. The government could realistically pump many hundreds of billions (or >$1trillion) of dollars into the economy by 2015 without doing "too much" (as John McCain thinks). Just recall the colossal effort China (& many other countries actually, including Canada) is making on their highways, railways, etc:

A top Democrat in the U.S. Congress raised the possibility on Friday of creating a federal infrastructure bank to help pay for roads, subways and other projects that could create jobs and improve the environment.

The new debt-selling bank would be an independent federal entity that would evaluate major projects and use various financial tools to fund them, explained House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

"With the economy slowing down and job losses accelerating, we must look for opportunities to take advantage of the stimulative effect of investing in infrastructure," Pelosi said in a speech prepared for delivery to the Regional Plan Association, a think tank.

*snip*

Pelosi told her audience: "I believe that if there were one item in the stimulus package -- if the President said, 'Just pick one and we'll go whole hog on it,' it should be infrastructure." She added the investments should be "substantial."
http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1821178120080419


Hillary Clinton is on the right track, but she isn't thinking big enough imho:

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she wants to create 3 million new jobs by investing in the nation's infrastructure and develop what she calls a "greener, sleeker 21st Century highway and transit system."

Clinton discussed the new jobs at an AFL-CIO Pennsylvania state convention in Philadelphia, pointing out a number of public safety projects are needed to address immediate safety concerns. She called for a $10 billion emergency repair fund.

"President Bush has stood by and watched as we've lost 3 million manufacturing jobs. And he's done nothing about the loopholes in our tax code that actually encourage companies to ship jobs overseas," Clinton said. "It's time for a different approach."

Clinton also called for a long-term commitment to a modern infrastructure, including a $60 billion infrastructure bank to evaluate highway construction projects that she proposed last year.

She also called for expanding public transit networks to the tune of $1.5 billion a year, and said she wants to use eco-friendly methods in the construction process, including the used of recycled materials in the building process.
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/story.aspx?guid={4B81349E-8B5D-44C5-97D8-59D1A2AC1BA8}
 
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Astronuc
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The government's treasury already finances infrastructure! Or doesn't because they are deferring to Iraq or Defense or other expeditures.

If this other entity is set up, will they have authority to tax or charge fees? Will politicians then turn around and whine about the Infrastructure Authority, is charging too much or has too much authority.


How about some fiscal discpline in Congress/White House - for a change? I'd be happy to see less Racketeering and Corruption on the part of Congress and the Administration.


Why not simply bill people on the basis of expenses. If the Iraq war costs $20K/per person, send out a bill to everyone for their fair share of the cost of the war.
 
loseyourname
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Keeping as much public works administration at the local and regional levels as possible is better, in my opinion. We could use an overhaul of the interstate railway system, maybe. The Federal Highway Administration's $40 billion budget is enough, though. Rather than increasing the number of projects they fund, what they should do is change the competitive bidding and project management process so that projects are actually completed on time and under budget.
 
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I don't know what this is doing in Canadian media:

The 20-month study by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission paints a dismal picture of the nation's infrastructure system with roads, bridges and highways, passenger and freight rail services rapidly deteriorating with limited funding resources to pay for necessary repairs and upgrades.

*snip*

The findings and recommendations by the 12-member commission, which were supported by nine of the commissioners, is expected to re-ignite political debate over raising gasoline taxes. Recent efforts by Congress to increase it have faltered, in part due to objections by the Bush administration.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is expected to hear testimony from five of the commissioners including Frank Busalacchi, secretary of the Wisconsin Transportation Department; Matt Rose, president and chief executive of BNSF Railway and Patrick Quinn, co-chairman and president of U.S. Xpress Enterprises, among others.

*snip*

The report said at least $225 billion annually will be needed for the next 50 years from all sources to get the country's existing system in a state of good repair. The U.S. currently spends less than 40 percent of that amount.
http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/market_news/article.jsp?content=D906REGG0 [Broken]

Looks like $1 trillion would be just "a good start!" & local governments are supposed to pay for it all?
 
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Astronuc
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Back 4 months ago -

Finally! A Serious Proposal on Infrastructure
Wednesday, Feb 13 2008, 11:14AM

Barack Obama announced his support for a national infrastructure bank -- similar to the one that Senators Chris Dodd and Chuck Hagel have been pushing for in Congress.

This is really important for the nation -- and helps to get back to sensible thinking about rebuilding the foundation on which this country's commerce, jobs base, social networks, just about everything that requires connectivity is based. Dems -- particularly budget hawks -- are in a bind because the stress on the discretionary part of the national budget is going to preempt any 'politics of optimism' if we can't distinguish between capital investments in national infrastructure that will help drive forward growth and gains for the economy -- and other kinds of disbursements that have less of an impact on economic growth.

This is great. To be fair, Hillary Clinton has talked a lot about infrastructure in the debates and in her speeches. . .but to my knowledge she had not proposed anything as tangible as this national infrastructure bank concept.

It's about time -- and it makes sense. Good for Senator Obama. I hope that Hillary Clinton joins up to the idea.
http://www.acppubs.com/article/CA6554078.html [Broken]

From - http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-1926
Last Action: Jun 12, 2008: Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings held.
This bill is identical to H.R. 3401 (Status: Introduced).

I heard about this today. It seems to be moving forward - somewhat.
 
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turbo
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I'm concerned about this turning into yet another boondoggle, guiding our tax dollars into the pockets of the wealthy and well-connected. Why doesn't Congress ban earmarks, and task some committees with the responsibility of identifying infrastructure work that NEEDS to be done, and can provide a return on investment? There is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve our bridges and roads and rails. Tim Mellon bought Maine's premiere rail system, stripped it of rail and rolling stock that could be scrapped for easy money, and discontinued "unprofitable" lines that could be really profitable now with the current high fuel prices. Before he gutted the Maine Central RR, there were once lots of decent little rail yards that could have been operated as log-transfer yards to keep thousands of trucks off local roads and allow cheap transportation of pulp-wood and saw-logs to mills. This would not only have allowed loggers to reduce transportation costs - it would have kept countless trucks (in the 100-120K GVW range) off large stretches of public highway, saving the wear and tear on the road surfaces and road bases.
 
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russ_watters
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I'm concerned about this turning into yet another boondoggle....
Yes, how exactly is this thing financed? It just sounds like a new government agency (under the DOT or completely separate?) that funds road projects with new federal taxes.
 
quadraphonics
I could have sworn that we already had a http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/" [Broken], which also happens to be the main instrument the Feds use to intrude on state prerogatives that are outside their Constitutional mandate to control directly (i.e., drinking ages).
 
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Astronuc
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There were various Surface Transportation Acts over the years.

There was:

Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991.

Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)

Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

http://www.bts.gov/laws_and_regulations/ [Broken]


It sounds something like a continuation. Certainly the money spent has not managed to prevent deterioration of thousands of bridges across the country. What may be new in this is that it extends to municipal water systems and other civil works, besides transportation. Apparently various state are pleading poverty and want federal funds. Of course, since taxes were cut, funding on infrastructure was reduced, and maintenance was deferred. The problem is that systems are starting to fail.

It doesn't make sense for the federal government to be collecting taxes from the populations of various states, and then turning around and spending the money as federal grants.


One thing I noted in previous Surface Transporation programs, which were allegedly transportation, were in fact not transportation.

Federal Highway Administration is one of several DOT agencies.
http://www.dot.gov/DOTagencies.htm
 
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chemisttree
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Gee, if only the government would apply a small user tax, say based on how much fuel one used, and apply it to infrastructure repairs and construction. Sounds like a good idea. I wonder why no one has thought of it before!:yuck:
 
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DrClapeyron
There is speculation that the North American Superhighway will be built from Texas to Minnesota to bring in the new North American Union between principle members the US, Canda and Mexico. These nations will then adopt a common currency, the Amero, in order to compete with the EU and the euro. It is conceivable that a National Infrastructure Bank is the first step.
Of course these are ideas which may simply be used to increase the agenda of NAFTA and any other continental systems in the near future.

Amero - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amero
North American Union - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Union
Superhighway - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAFTA_superhighway
 
mheslep
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Obama's projected 2009 deficit $1.84 trillion = $6,133 / person THIS YEAR.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/1043385.html [Broken]
 
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