President Obama will propose creating a funding mechanism for large-scale public works projects in the fiscal 2012 budget plan he unveils Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said today.
In a blog post on the Treasury Department website, Geithner said the infrastructure bank would build on Obama's State of the Union promise to create jobs and expand the economy by building roads, bridges, rail lines and other large projects.
The infrastructure bank would be aimed at leveraging private-sector funds and ensuring more construction projects without adding to the federal deficit, Geithner wrote. It would offer loans to projects selected through "rigorous analysis" that had not secured other financing, he said.
"We will support projects that produce significant returns on our investment, allow Americans more choices in their modes of transportation, and improve the interconnectedness of our existing transportation networks to maximize the value of our current infrastructure," Geithner wrote.
Geithner did not offer specifics about the size of the bank or its structure. A Treasury spokeswoman said no details could be released before the White House releases its budget.
Infrastructure investment would create jobs in three hard-hit sectors: construction, manufacturing and retail, Geithner said. The construction industry is struggling with unemployment rates above 20 percent.
In his State of the Union address, Obama called for the government to set up an infrastructure bank to "rebuild America." Among lawmakers vowing to back the plan with legislation are Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).