By Vicki Needham - 03/14/11 06:26 PM EDT
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) has urged caution in going forward with an infrastructure bank, arguing that it would likely benefit large cities and leave out rural areas.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also touted the proposed national infrastructure bank, which would receive $30 billion over six years as part of a proposed comprehensive six-year, $556 billion plan.
With funding sources tight, senators in both parties have expressed frustration with the administration for failing to provide other ways to pay for the plan.
The Obama administration also has said it supports reviving the Build America Bonds (BAB) program, and the initiative could gain broad support if it's focused on infrastructure.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is leading the push on BAB and recently said he has a bill nearly ready to introduce. The measure would be called TRIPS, an acronym for Transportation and Regional Infrastructure Bonds.
Wyden is trying to build support for the bonds although there's still plenty of Republican opposition. Some House and Senate Republicans though have said they'd consider supporting the program if it were focused solely on transportation.
Issuers sold more than $180 billion in BABs after the program started in April 2009, which Wyden called "a breathtaking sum."