Outpaced by China and India, US senators push for legislation to fund new infra projects

By: |
February 7, 2019 11:50 AM

This bipartisan bill will help finance improvement projects through public-private partnerships.

The act would raise the statutory cap on PABs to USD 20.8 billion. (File/Reuters)

Of the view that China and India were increasingly outpacing the US in infrastructure investments, country’s two top senators have introduced a legislation to facilitate funding for new projects.

Introduced by John Cornyn and Mark Warner on Wednesday, Building United States Infrastructure and Leveraging Development (BUILD) Act intends to 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 USD 15 billion to USD 20.8 billion.

This would increase the amount of tax-exempt bonds the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) can approve for these projects by USD 5.8 billion, said the senators who are also the co-chairs of the powerful Senate India caucus.

“Foreign countries, including China and India, continue to outpace the US in terms of making truly robust investments in their infrastructure,” Warner said.

“Not only will this legislation help boost US 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,” he added.

“The condition of our highways and freight corridors make a big impact on the lives of Americans and on our nation’s economy,” 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,” he added.

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, Cornyn said.

The act would raise the statutory cap on PABs to USD 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.

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