Bennet, Blunt Aim to Improve Nation's Infrastructure with Innovative Financing Proposal

Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill Creates Infrastructure Bank Using Public-Private Partnership Model

U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced a bipartisan bill to jumpstart our nation’s capability to build and repair roads, bridges, highways, ports, schools, and other infrastructure projects.

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.

Representative John Delaney (D-MD) introduced a bipartisan companion in the House of Representatives which has been cosponsored by 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans.

“Our parents and grandparents helped build this country from the ground up, and in the process grew our economy into one of America’s greatest assets. Unfortunately, Washington has failed to fulfill its promise to maintain our infrastructure – from roads and bridges to our energy grid and public schools,” Bennet said. “In Colorado, we do our best with limited resources to keep things in working order and to break ground on critical new projects like the Arkansas Valley Conduit and the ongoing expansion of public transit in the Denver metro area. This bill will help us improve and expand the infrastructure we need to compete in the 21st century.”

“Washington needs to pass policies to help jump-start private sector job creation. American farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and workers are greatly reliant on our nation’s infrastructure to move goods and services as quickly as possible,” Blunt said. “I’m proud to support this bipartisan bill, which will help communities in Missouri and across America improve infrastructure and compete in a global economy.”

“The American people expect us to work together and find solutions and that’s the spirit behind this legislation,” said Congressman John K. Delaney. “It’s clear that we have to upgrade our crumbling roads and bridges and that we must do so in a fiscally responsible manner. Rebuilding our infrastructure will create jobs, make our economy more competitive, and improve our quality of life. I thank Senator Bennet for introducing this legislation in the Senate and Senator Blunt for reaching across the aisle to join him.”

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 Mark Warner (D-VA), 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.