Infrastructure Bank Proposals Would Concentrate Transportation Policy in Washington

Resistance to higher fuel taxes to fund state and federal transportation programs has prompted President Obama and some members of Congress to endorse a federal infrastructure “bank.” The idea is to circumvent budgetary limits on federal spending to provide more money for highways, transit, and other infrastructure. Although each proposal differs in significant ways, all would lead to a concentration of infrastructure investment decisions in Washington, D.C., bypassing state departments of transportation and other government entities that are responsible for most such decisions under existing law. While many advocates of such “banks” present their plans as responsible, business-like entities that will spur important investment and aid the economy, all evidence indicates that these plans are little more than a disguised repeat of Obama’s failed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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