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Obama Seeks U.S. Bond Program to Increase Public Works Spending

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama called for a bond program to boost state and local government spending on public works projects as part of an infrastructure development plan.

The new securities, called America Fast Forward Bonds, would be similar to Build America Bonds, an economic stimulus measure that lapsed in 2010, the White House said in a statement today. The program would be designed to attract pension funds and overseas investors that don’t buy traditional municipal bonds, which pay lower yields than other securities because the returns are exempt from U.S. income tax.

The proposal may encounter opposition in Congress, where Republican opposition derailed efforts to prolong the Build America Bond program before it expired more than two years ago. Obama unsuccessfully proposed reviving it in 2011 and 2012.

The White House didn’t release details on the program, including how much money could potentially be raised. Amy Brundage, a spokeswoman for the White House, had no immediate comment in response to an e-mail seeking specifics.

To contact the reporters on this story: William Selway in Washington at wselway@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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