Obama to launch “Build America” program in Delaware

President Obama will unveil a program to overhaul infrastructure funding during a visit at the Port of Wilmington later this afternoon.

In a speech scheduled for around 2 p.m., President Obama is expected his Build America Investment Initiative. The program is an effort to increase public and private collaboration to increase infrastructure investment and spur economic growth.

The I-495 bridge that was found to be tilting earlier this year will form the backdrop for the speech shoulder. after damaged earlier. Obama is expected to point to the bridge, which is currently closed for repairs, as an example of the importance of infrastructure to the economy.

Presidential Memorandum

Obama plans to sign a Presidential Memorandum today that will create the initiative. “He’s going to continue to do whatever he can to promote American growth,” said Jef Zients, director of the National Economic Council. “Later today in Delaware, that’s exactly what the President will do by taking a new executive action that will turbo-charge private investment in our roads, rails, highways and bridges.”

Increased investment in infrastructure is overdue, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “At the rate, we’re going according to one estimate, we’ll have invested $3.6 trillion less than is needed in our infrastructure by the end of this decade.”

The plan announced later today will include the creation the Build America Transportation Investment Center. The center will help local and state governments access federal transportation credit programs and also offer assistance in securing investments through public-private partnerships.

According to the White House, the top six states for securing funding through public-private partnerships account for nearly two-thirds of the value of all PPP projects, and 20 states have no PPPs funding transportation projects.

The new initiative is not just limited to transportation, but will also try to increase public-private partnerships in areas like water, energy and broadband infrastructure. 

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