Obama gives more details on proposed infrastructure investments

The New York Times has obtained a summary of President Barack Obama’s plan to repair the failing infrastructure in the United States. Obama discussed the need for infrastructure investment during his State of the Union address February 13th.

The goal of the President’s plan, the Times report,s is to create jobs “that cannot be outsourced,” while making the country safer.

According to the Times, Obama’s plan is based on three elements that seek to minimize the need for Congressional approval in order to get the ball rolling more quickly.

The first element is the “fix-it-first” initiative Obama spoke about during the State of the Union. The Times reports it calls for a $50 billion investment in transportation infrastrcture, $40 billion of which will go directly to the “highways, bridges, transit systems and airports ‘most in need of repair.'”

The average age of the 600,000 bridges in the U.S. is 43 years. A great deal of these bridges are nearing the end of their 50-year life span and 70,000 of them have been deemed structurally deficient.

The second element of the plan would fund federal, state and local projects by drawing  private investment from across the nation and around the world. Here’s the Times’s John Schwartz:

“It revives the president’s call for creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, which could bring public and private financing together to plan projects,” the Times reports. The proposal would also allow issuing new America Fast Forward bonds to follow up on the Build America Bonds program from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.”

The third element seeks to cut much of the red tape in permits and review for these infrastructure projects in order to speed up these projects — harbor deepening and surface transportation in particular. or communities and the environment.”