Auto industry workers retrain on wind installation in Elyria, Ohio | Energy Department Image | Photo by Quentin Kruger (Contractor)
Last night the President laid out the American Jobs Act, a specific, tangible, bi-partisan strategy for putting Americans back to work. This plan will cut taxes for small businesses and put more money into the pockets of hard working Americans, without adding a dime to the Federal deficit.
As part of his jobs proposal, President Obama called on Congress to pass the bi-partisan Kerry-Hutchison BUILD Act, which would establish a national infrastructure bank. This bank would issue loans to promising infrastructure projects -– including for important clean energy projects -- providing them with the seed money necessary to help them secure essential private investment dollars that might otherwise sit on the sidelines.
The national infrastructure bank would not only put Americans back to work, but continue to build off of the significant strides we’ve made in clean energy sector through our Recovery Act-funded Loan Program, which is set to expire on September 30th. In the past two years, the Loan Program has supported a robust, diverse portfolio of more than 40 projects that plan to employ more than 60,000 Americans and create tens of thousands of indirect jobs. With China pouring more than $30 billion of low-to-no interest financing into solar technologies alone, we must continue to take steps to support innovative, job creating clean energy technologies in this country or risk being left behind in the clean energy race. The proposed national infrastructure bank will help us do just that.
Americans have always led by looking ahead. Even in the midst of the Civil War, when our country was under incredible stress, we planned for the future. President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, which authorized generous public financing for two private companies – Union Pacific Railroad Company and Central Pacific Railroad Company -- to lower the investor risk in building railroads in unsettled territories. In 1869, the first Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah, revolutionizing transport in this country and opening up a world of possibilities for industry.
The American Jobs Act is our chance to not just recover from the current economic crisis, but to secure our future. President Obama’s plan will help us rebuild the economy in a fiscally responsible way, putting Americans back to work and positioning American industry to lead through innovation. With its provisions for investment, the American Jobs Act will continue to foster the clean energy technologies of tomorrow while seizing the current energy infrastructure opportunities in front of us.