Bill will use public-private partnership model for financing
Jan 17 2014
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) joined Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO)and Roy Blunt (R-MO) in introducing a bipartisan bill to jumpstart our nation’s capability to build and repair roads, bridges, highways, ports, schools, and other infrastructure projects. This effort is part of Senator Warner’s ongoing effort to improve our nation’s struggling infrastructure. This past November, Senator Warner, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the BRIDGE Act – another infrastructure proposal that would be deficit-neutral.
Without spending overstretched federal dollars, the Partnership to Build America Act will help put people back to work building projects across the country, while helping to improve U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century global economy. It establishes a $50 billion infrastructure fund that can potentially support hundreds of billions in loan guarantees and financing authority for state and local governments. The fund would finance transportation, energy, communications, water, and education infrastructure projects across the country.
The bill encourages U.S. companies to purchase these bonds by allowing them to exclude a certain portion of their overseas earnings from taxation. The amount that they are permitted to repatriate for each dollar of bond purchases will be determined by a competitive auction.
“We need to look at a number of different tools to address the infrastructure deficit in our country and spur additional investment,” said Sen. Warner. “Through mechanisms like the BRIDGE Act that I introduced last year and this legislation, we will have more tools to complement traditional funding streams which simply aren’t able to meet our infrastructure demands on their own. I have long been a proponent of leveraging private sector investment through innovative financing mechanisms, and this is a step in the right direction. With the strong bipartisan support that this bill and the BRIDGE Act enjoy, it is my hope that we can start a serious conversation about how we are going to meet our growing infrastructure needs.”
The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a D+ on its 2013 report card. Estimates of how much investment is needed to repair and rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure reach as high as $2 trillion over the next two decades.
The American Infrastructure Fund created through the Partnership to Build America Act will help finance top priority infrastructure projects across the country. The fund will make guarantees or low-cost loans to state or local governments, nonprofits, private parties, and public-private partnerships to finance infrastructure projects that state and local governments prioritize.
The Senate bill is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Angus King (I-ME), Dan Coats (R-IN), Mark Begich (D-AK), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Mark Kirk (R-IL). This bill is supported by numerous groups, including the American Business Council, the American Planning Association, the Associated General Contractors of America, CEMEX, CH2M Hill, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, among many others. Representative John Delaney (D-MD) introduced a bipartisan companion in the House of Representatives which has been cosponsored by 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans.