Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said Tuesday he will be working on a bill to create a national infrastructure bank that should be ready by the time the 112th Congress convenes in January 2011.
Kerry was the lead witness before the Senate Finance Committee in a hearing to discuss the prospects for an infrastructure bank.
"We are living off our previous generations' willingness to invest in America," Kerry told the committee. "A national infrastructure bank is the essential way for our country to catch up to the enormous infrastructure deficit that we face in this country."
The bank would be a source of capital that would leverage private investment in infrastructure. In one concept, the bank would be limited to transportation projects. Under an alternate scenario, other infrastructure such as water and sewer systems, high-speed rail and the national electric grid would be objects for lending.
The idea of the bank is one of the priorities President Obama mentioned in January in his State of the Union address. He focused new interest on it in a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee.
Kerry said he was meeting Tuesday afternoon with stakeholders with the hope of building support for a bill.
"We're going to see where the consensus is, the path of least resistance going forward that can attract Republican support to make this a bipartisan effort," Kerry said. "We've got to get moving on it."
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