President Obama’s proposal for a new federal bank to fund highway and bridge revitalization and meet other infrastructure needs is destined to die in the House, a key Republican congressman said Wednesday.
John L. Mica (R.-Fla.), who is chairman of the House Transportation Committee and in tune with the thinking of the House leadership, declared the Obama plan “dead on arrival.” Mica proposed several alternative means to fund infrastructure demands.
The administration’s proposed bank, modeled after a bill that has bipartisan support in the Senate, would take a lead role in finding financing for road, bridge, mass transit and public-works projects with prices tags of $100 million or more.
With taxpayer investment limited to no more than half the total for each project, the bank would line up private investors, low-interest loans or loan guarantees. Though the bank’s start-up would require a $10 billion federal investment, the administration has sought to quiet fears the potential bank loses would lead to a repeat of the Fannie Mae bailout, saying that only projects that produced a dedicated revenue stream would be eligible for loans.