Clinton calls for national infrastructure bank

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Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is calling for the creation of a national infrastructure funding bank to help pay for transportation projects as Congress struggles to find ways to finance road construction. 

Federal transportation funding is set to expire on Thursday, and lawmakers are considering passing a three-week extension as they try to come up with ways to pay for a multiyear highway bill. 

Clinton said in a high-profile speech at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner over the weekend that an infrastructure bank could be the solution to the transportation funding problem. 

“We should establish an infrastructure bank to put Americans to work building our roads, our bridges, our airports, our rails [and] our broadband networks,” the former secretary of State said in her speech on Saturday night. 

{mosads}Transportation advocates have called for the establishment of a national infrastructure bank to prevent potential interruptions in the nation’s road and transit funding, like the one that could occur on Thursday if Congress does not pass an extension. 

Most of the infrastructure bank proposals call for an initial round of government funding that supporters say could be used to lure private sector investments to finance badly needed transportation projects. Suggestions for the starter fund have typically ranged from $10 billion to $50 billion. 

Many Republicans have said they would prefer to let states establish their own infrastructure banks, although transportation advocates have said Congress should establish a national road funding pot because many states have not chosen to do so on their own. 

Clinton’s recent proposal comes as lawmakers are struggling to come up with a way to pay for federal transportation projects. Congress has not passed a transportation funding bill that last longer than two years since 2005, and the latest proposal from the House would last only until Nov. 20. 

GOP leaders in the House have said the temporary patch will provide time for them to finish work on a six-year, $325 billion transportation funding bill that was approved Thursday by the chamber’s Transportation Committee.

The Senate has already passed a bill in July that included three years of guaranteed highway funding, and lawmakers have pressured the House to follow suit since they rejected the upper chamber’s measure in the summer. 

Clinton has not weighed in on the legislative wrangling over the highway bill. The Department of Transportation, meanwhile, has warned that it will have to stop making payments to states and local governments for infrastructure projects in November if Congress does not reach an agreement. 

Tags Highway bill Highway Trust Fund Hillary Clinton Infrastructure bank Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner MAP-21 Reauthorization
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