WILMINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - Barack Obama on Thursday pressed for more private investment to augment waning public funds to fix crumbling bridges and roads across the United States.
The move is part of a larger effort by the Obama administration to boost infrastructure spending.
Earlier this week, Obama threw his weight behind a temporary fix for the depleted Highway Trust Fund. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a $10.9 billion fund infusion, enough to keep money flowing to road, bridge and transit projects through the end of May 2015.
Republicans and Democrats are at odds over how to provide a more permanent fix to the funding problem, and the White House is highlighting the need for the private sector to step in.
“There are lots of investors who want to back infrastructure projects because, when it’s done right, they then get a steady, long-term investment,” Obama said at an event in Delaware.
He noted that many states and local governments would welcome more private investment.
Obama, who has been criticized by congressional Republicans for issuing executive orders as his legislative agenda falters, announced two new executive actions to help boost infrastructure investment.
The actions launched what the White House called a “Build America Investment Initiative” to encourage a private capital influx for infrastructure projects.
The initiative included a new investment center to be housed at the Department of Transportation that local governments, developers and investors could access to take advantage of financing opportunities.
It also included a new working group among government agencies to tasked with looking at ways to increase private investment in infrastructure. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Andre Grenon)