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A Piece of Obama Plan Gets Wall Street Support

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- There was no better time than Thursday night for a complete blackout to cripple a major metropolitan area in the U.S.

As President Barack Obama addressed Congress with his outline for creating jobs in America, a plan that includes the formation of an infrastructure bank to rebuild and expand the nation's flagging infrastructure, San Diego and the surrounding area went dark. Ironically, that meant 1.4 million residents without power couldn't watch the president's speech on job creation through improving and expanding the country's wilting infrastructure.

"It's another example of why we do need to invest in this country's infrastructure," says Mark Weisdorf, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management's Infrastructure Investments Group. Weisdorf is responsible for more than $5 billion in infrastructure assets, including ports, water systems and airports, among others.

"It's about electricity transmission lines, especially after we suffered several major blackouts in the last few decades," Weisdorf continues. "It's about roads, rails, airports, seaports, water, waste water. There is a significant need for new and better infrastructure. There are a number of areas where we've fallen behind and we haven't kept up with the infrastructure needs. That blackout is just one example."

Obama's call for an infrastructure bank as part of his grand American Jobs Act may have a tough time passing in Congress, but promoting private investment in U.S. infrastructure is the right plan and can greatly benefit investors, professional money managers such as Weisdorf say.

Obama's four-point jobs plan, with a price tag of $447 billion, proposes the creation of an infrastructure bank that would combine private investment with public infrastructure construction. The bulk of the plan is dedicated to slashing payroll taxes, with the infrastructure bank going for a modest initial federal investment of $10 billion.

"Although that $10 billion will be significant in bringing public and private sector finance and filling a gap, it's not a large amount in the scheme of a $447 billion plan," Weisdorf says. "It's been well thought-out and it's intended to be self-sustaining. It's not intended to be grants, but instead lending and loan guarantees. "
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