Mica to stage House hearing on US infra bank

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will debate the pros and cons of a national infrastructure bank this week. Chairman Mica is in favour of a state-led approach rather than what he describes as a ‘federal bureacracy’.

John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, announced at the end of last week that a hearing will be held this Wednesday, October 12, on President Obama’s proposal for the creation of a national infrastructure bank.

Mica, a Florida Republican, is a known proponent of infrastructure banks at the state rather than the national level.

In the announcement of the hearing, he said: “While I support innovative financing to meet our nation’s infrastructure needs, the multi-billion dollar, Washington bureacracy-based infrastructure bank President Obama is advocating raises many concerns.”

Rather than a “$270 million year-long process of creating another federally backed agency designed to pick winners and losers”, Mica said that “a more positive approach would be to build on the 33 existing state infrastructure banks which lack financial backing but are in place, can get projects selected and moving, and put people to work on an expedited basis.”

He concluded: “The last thing Congress needs to do is create another federal bureaucracy where state and local officials are required to parade before Washington bureacrats on bended knee to receive their favor.”

In early September, President Obama spoke of his vision of a national infrastructure bank when unveiling his $447 billion job stimulus package. Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the proposed $10 billion bank could unlock almost $200 billion in private capital for investment in infrastructure.