Obama Presses Congress For Billions To Spend On Infrastructure Programs

by CBS DC  |  published on March 30, 2013

US-POLITICS-OBAMA

President Barack Obama was promoting a plan to create jobs by attracting private investment in highways and other public works during a visit Friday to a Miami port.

The president chose to flesh out details of his proposals in a speech at the port, which is undergoing $2 billion in upgrades paid for with government and private money. Obama, in the quick trip to South Florida, was trying to show that the economy remains his top priority in the midst of high-profile campaigns on immigration reform and gun control.

Among the proposals Obama will call for:

—Higher caps on “private activity bonds” to encourage more private spending on highways and other infrastructure projects. State and local governments use the bonds to attract investment.

—Giving foreign pension funds tax-exempt status when selling U.S. infrastructure, property or real estate assets. U.S. pension funds are generally tax exempt in those circumstances. The administration says some international pension funds cite the tax burden as a reason for not investing in American infrastructure.

—$4 billion in new spending on two infrastructure programs that award loans and grants.

—A renewed call for a $10 billion national “infrastructure bank” — a proposal from his first term that gained little traction.

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