US congressman and transport officials and experts have slammed Obama’s plan for a National Infrastructure Bank, claiming it would add to the amount of red tape and federal bureaucracy that already slows down and diverts funding away from transport and infrastructure projects.
Members of the Congress Transportation Committee - and witnesses speaking to a committee hearing - highlighted existing federal programmes and authorities that could be strengthened to finance infrastructure projects more effectively than simply increasing the size of the government.
Thirty-three state infrastructure banks already exist.
“We must use every responsible mechanism possible to move projects and expand our capacity to finance infrastructure maintenance and improvements, but a National Infrastructure Bank is dead on arrival in Congress,” said Republican committee chairman John Mica. “Thirty-three state infrastructure banks already exist and we can ensure financing and build upon this foundation without creating a new level of federal bureaucracy.
“We do not need to create more federal bureaucracy. In fact, with over 100 separate federal surface transportation programmes, we need less bureaucracy,” he said, “The federal government also has existing financing programs that serve the same purpose as a National Infrastructure Bank, such as TIFIA, RRIF and others, that we can improve and strengthen.”