New initiative aims to make collaboration between state and local governments and private investors easier, in an effort to improve infrastructure nationwide
President Barack Obama, joined by several state and local Democrats at the Port of Wilmington Thursday afternoon, signed the “Build America Investment Initiative.”
Obama said that the initiative creates a one-stop shop for cities and states looking to partner with the private sector to fund infrastructure projects.
“There are lots of investors who want to back infrastructure projects because, when it’s done right, they then get a steady, long-term investment – they get a steady return,” Obama said. “Lots of states and local governments would welcome more private investment, but they need a partner in the federal government to help do some matchmaking.”
The setting for his speech was in front of the I-495 bridge that has been closed while repairs are being made.
After his visit, Delaware Republicans blasted the President and Democrats who joined him in Wilmington.
“The President has repeatedly exploited situations like the one surrounding the I-495 bridge as photo-ops in the name of infrastructure improvements,” Charlie Copeland, Chairman of the Delaware Republican Party said in a statement released yesterday. “Yet he has allowed one of America's biggest infrastructure projects, the Keystone Pipeline, to sit in limbo at the expense of thousands of jobs for hardworking Americans.”
As the ongoing debate about how to fund transportation and infrastructure fixes continues, the administration announced the creation of the Build America Transportation Investment Center.
The center will serve as the hub for state and local governments, public and private developers and investors “seeking to utilize innovative financing strategies for transportation infrastructure projects,” according to a White House press release.
The center’s exact impact on funding for Delaware projects is not clear. However, New Castle County County Executive Tom Gordon (D) said that local support is already in place for the initiative, and that it should start with an agreement between the Port of Wilmington, the City of Wilmington and the state of Delaware.
“It’s all about growing the port, and our partnership with GM,” Gordon said. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time.”