President Obama proposes the establishment of a $4 billion national infrastructure bank that will fund transportation and provide additional funding for $1 billion of high-speed rail development. The bank can be used for projects that “provide a significant economic benefit to the nation or region” and “encourage collaboration among non-federal stakeholders including states, municipalities and private sectors, and also promote coordination with investments in other infrastructure sectors.” The national infrastructure bank sounds similar to the Washington State Public Works Trust Fund, an immensely successful legislative “bank” from which municipalities, counties and other public entities have been able to borrow low interest funds for public infrastructure projects. The Public Works Trust Fund has been self-sustaining, but for occasional legislative raids and a highly-touted and successful source of funding more much needed infrastructure projects. The national infrastructure bank proposed by President Obama appears to be headed in the right direction, and properly managed, it will surely enjoy similar success to the Washington State Public Works Trust Fund.
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