Warner, Cornyn Bill Would Increase Access to Infrastructure Funding for Surface Transportation Projects
Feb 06 2019
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mark Warner (D-VA) today introduced the Building United States Infrastructure and Leveraging Development (BUILD) Act, which would raise the federal statutory cap on Private Activity Bonds (PABs) issued by or on behalf of state and local governments for highway and freight improvement projects from $15 billion to $20.8 billion. This would increase the amount of tax-exempt bonds the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) can approve for these projects by $5.8 billion.
“The condition of our highways and freight corridors make a big impact on the lives of Americans and on our nation’s economy,” Sen. Cornyn said. “As more and more of our infrastructure requires critical improvements, it’s imperative we find ways to reinvest in our roads and rails without the burden falling to taxpayers. This bipartisan bill will help finance improvement projects through public-private partnerships, resulting in minimal cost to taxpayers with maximum impact on America’s roads, bridges, and rails.”
“Foreign countries, including China and India, continue to outpace the U.S. in terms of making truly robust investments in their infrastructure,” said Sen. Warner. “Not only will this legislation help boost U.S. competitiveness, it will also help close our nation’s infrastructure gap in a responsible way by facilitating proven methods of partnering private investment with public funds to help make desperately needed infrastructure improvements.”
PABs allow state or local governments to issue tax-exempt debt, with approval from USDOT, for qualified highway or surface freight transfer facilities. Less than $5 billion in PABs remain under the original statutory cap, set at $15 billion, and that amount is likely to be consumed in the very near future.
The Building United States Infrastructure and Leveraging Development (BUILD) Act would raise the statutory cap on PABs to $20.8 billion, allowing state and local governments to enter into additional public-private partnerships and enhance the capacity to finance additional surface transportation projects with private investment.