Mar 15 2011
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and John Kerry (D-MA) announced today they will co-sponsor The BUILD Act creating a new infrastructure bank to help finance infrastructure projects. The BUILD Act, which will help close America’s widening infrastructure gap, create jobs throughout the next decade, and strengthen America’s competitive position, has the support of the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Today’s announcement included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue.
“The United States is spending less than two-percent of its GDP on infrastructure, while India spends five-percent and China spends nine-percent,” said Sen. Warner. “As a matter of global competitiveness, we need to find additional ways to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, and this bank will help us strike the right balance between near-term discipline and investment in future growth.”
The legislation would establish a $10 billion fund to encourage private investment in large public works projects, and the senators estimate the bill could leverage up to $640 billion in private investment over 10 years for infrastructure projects. The BUILD Act will not include any grants and will only fund revenue-generating projects that can repay a loan.
The legislation would provide loans and loan guarantees for bridges, rails, roads and other large public projects through an independent entity called the American Infrastructure Financing Authority, which would be similar to the Export-Import Bank. The authority would initially be financed by the federal government but would eventually become self-sustaining. It would not be allowed to finance more than 50 percent of the costs of projects.