White House Pushes Private Role in Infrastructure Spending

July 20, 2014

President Obama is scheduled to announce an initiative aimed at increasing private sector investment in the country’s aging transportation infrastructure at an event in Delaware on July 17.

The president will joined by state Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, and local and federal officials, at the Port of Wilmington in the afternoon.

The White House press office said the event is meant to unveil “a governmentwide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth by engaging with state and local governments and private sector investors to encourage collaboration, expand the market for public-private partnerships.”

The trip to the First State comes as Congress is expected to send to the White House this month legislation that would keep highway projects funded for 10 months. The federal Highway Trust Fund is poised to run out of money in August.

While Obama supports the bill, he has stressed he would prefer Congress to take up multiyear transportation legislation that boosts federal dollars and private sector investments for infrastructure projects.

“Congress shouldn’t pat itself on the back for averting disaster for a few months, kicking the can down the road for a few months, careening from crisis to crisis,” Obama said.

Also this week, the president announced a series of steps aimed at helping key regions of the country enhance their climate resilience. In recent years, strong storms and hurricanes, such as Superstorm Sandy, have caused major flooding to densely populated coastal regions.