President Barak Obama today announced the Build America Investment Initiative (the “Initiative”). According to the Fact Sheet released by the White House in advance of the announcement, the purpose of the Initiative is to “increase infrastructure investment and economic growth by engaging with state and local governments and private sector investors to encourage collaboration, expand the market for public-private partnerships (PPPs) and put federal credit programs to greater use.”
The transportation industry will be the first to benefit from the Initiative.
The Fact Sheet lays out some of the portions of the Initiative, including a “Build America Transportation Investment Center” (the “Center”) to be housed within the United States Department of Transportation (“US DOT”), envisioned to be a “one-stop shop” for both public- and private-sector parties interested in innovative financing and project delivery for transportation projects; a “Build America Interagency Working Group” (the “Working Group”), to be chaired by Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx (or designees), to address barriers in private investment in industries including water, ports and harbors, communications, and energy; and an “Infrastructure Investment Summit,” to be hosted by the United States Department of the Treasury on September 9, 2014, intended to bring together federal, state, and local officials with project developers and investors to discuss innovative financing approaches for infrastructure.
After the announcement today, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum that uses the President’s executive authority to set policy related to collaboration on infrastructure development and financing, to articulate the requirements for establishing the Center within the US DOT, and to communicate the parameters for the Working Group.
In particular, the Center is subject to the following conditions:
The Center must be established within 120 days;
The Center must develop and make available tools useful to the establishment of innovatively financed and delivered projects, including case studies, best practices, and analytical tools;
The Center must develop a Web site to serve as a source of information for both public- and private-sector entities interested in transportation financing programs; and
The Center must coordinate with the Steering Committee on Federal Infrastructure Permitting and Review Process Improvement to provide technical assistance regarding environmental review.