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Is It Time For An Infrastructure Bank?

What do you think of the idea of a national infrastructure bank?

The idea was advocated last week by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who called for the nation to put $400 billion per year into the “bank” for the next 10 years. Rendell, as quoted in The Journal of Commerce, said this investment is the same amount the U.S. spends each year on Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The American people get it,” Rendell told a conference hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “They’re willing to spend money on infrastructure, but not the way that we spend it today with thousands and thousands of earmarks.”

Rendell said a $400 billion annual program would return $150 million in personal and corporate tax revenue from construction and manufacturing jobs created by an infrastructure program.

“The time to act is overdue,” Rendell said, noting that the goals for improving transportation infrastructure are public safety, quality of life and economic competitiveness. “We’ve got to sound the siren call or urgency and the infrastructure bank if the first foothold in this.

According to The Journal of Commerce, both the White House and members of Congress have advanced the idea of an infrastructure bank as an independent institution to bring together public and private investment to capitalize major transportation projects. However, advocates say the bank can’t do anything without Congress passing a comprehensive transportation spending bill that includes the bank.

What do you think? Does the idea of an infrastructure bank make sense? What would be the right amount of investment?

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