The New Markets Tax Credit program has been extended for two years under a tax package signed by President Barack Obama.

The bill also extends the placed-in-service deadline for projects financed with the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone housing tax credit.

The package failed to include an extension of the low-income housing tax credit exchange program. It also did not include funding for the National Housing Trust Fund.

Obama signed the sweeping $858 billion bill Friday after the House passed the measure 277 to 148. The Senate passed the bill earlier. The move extends many of the Bush-era tax cuts.

Although the legislation extends the GO Zone placed-in-service date for a year, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) secured a bipartisan agreement with Senate leaders to further extend the deadline through 2012. This move is expected to be taken up in early 2011.

Without a two-year extension through 2012, nearly 5,000 Gulf Coast units would unlikely be completed, and an estimated $1 billion of construction projects and related jobs would be in jeopardy, according to Landrieu.