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Obama unveils infrastructure upgrade plan

Keywords: Tags  steel, transportation, infrastructure, Obama, ports, roads, bridges, highways Bill Shuster

NEW YORK — The White House has unveiled a new infrastructure plan to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges and ports, helping U.S. businesses become more competitive globally.

The plan includes a number of investments that could mean a pickup in steel demand. Last July, President Barack Obama signed into law a $100-billion transportation bill that would provide funding through fiscal 2014 (, July 9), but many market participants said the legislation has not translated into increased demand.

"I’m encouraged by the President’s comments about the need to reduce red tape and streamline project delivery, including working to implement provisions ... that can cut the time to build a highway project in half," U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R., Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in a statement. "We need to find additional opportunities to move projects ahead faster in all modes of transportation to save time and money."

The new infrastructure plan was among a number of topics mentioned in Obama’s State of the Union address (, Feb. 13).

Highlights of the plan include:

• Investing $50 billion in frontloaded transportation infrastructure projects, in particular directing $40 billion toward reducing a backlog of deferred maintenance on highways, bridges, transit systems and airports.

• Attracting private investment through the "Rebuild America Partnership," a network that will enhance the role of private capital in U.S. infrastructure investment to supplement the traditional roles of federal, state and local governments.

• Creating a national infrastructure bank that will leverage public and private capital to support infrastructure projects of national and regional significance.

• Cutting red tape to reduce timelines in half for infrastructure projects and create incentives for better outcomes for communities and the environment through the modernization of agency permitting and review regulations, procedures and policies.

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