During Infrastructure Week 2019, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, joined Sens. Mark R. Warner, D-Virginia, and Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, in introducing bipartisan legislation that will strengthen the nation’s infrastructure, create jobs and generate economic growth.
The Reinventing Economic Partnerships And Infrastructure Redevelopment — REPAIR — Act will establish a nonpartisan financing authority to work alongside existing U.S. infrastructure funding. The authority will continue to stimulate growth by providing loans and loan guarantees to significant road, bridge, rail, port, water and sewer projects. With an initial $10 billion in seed money, the agency is projected to have more than $300 billion worth of total project investments and eventually become self-sustaining.
“I am proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support infrastructure investments that will help keep people and goods moving across the country,” said Coons. “As a member of the Senate’s Appropriations subcommittee that funds transportation programs, I am committed both to securing increased public investments and leveraging other sources of funding to improve our nation’s infrastructure.”
Currently, the U.S. spends less than 40 percent of what is needed to meet infrastructure demands. Furthermore, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that an investment of $4.6 trillion will be needed in the next 10 years to bring American infrastructure to a state of good repair. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. lags behind eight other nations in overall infrastructure, and behind 24 nations in utility infrastructure, which includes overall water and electricity infrastructure. For years, the federal government has struggled to come up with the funding necessary to close the widening infrastructure gap, which is why the REPAIR Act will leverage public dollars to incentivize private sector infrastructure investment.
The REPAIR Act would establish a fiscally responsible Infrastructure Financing Authority to complement existing infrastructure funding through loans and loan guarantees. Designed to become self-sustaining over time, this IFA would be independent of any federal agency and instead would be run by an appointed CEO and a board of directors, while still being subjected to strong congressional and federal oversight. The IFA would only fund economically viable projects of at least $50 million, or $10 million for projects in rural areas, for which five percent of IFA funding would be reserved. In order to be considered for funding, proposed projects would undergo rigorous analysis, and must show clear public benefit, meet economic, technical and environmental standards, and be backed by a dedicated revenue stream.
The bill is also cosponsored by Sens. Mike Braun, R-Indiana; Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota.
For the full text of this legislation, visit bit.ly/2Hx2sdc.