Reps. Peters, Gonzalez Introduce Bipartisan, Fiscally Responsible Bill to Create a New Infrastructure Bank
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of Infrastructure Week 2021, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) introduced the Reinventing Economic Partnerships and Infrastructure Redevelopment (REPAIR) Act to create jobs and build the new, 21st century infrastructure America needs to remain competitive. The bill establishes an Infrastructure Financing Authority that complements existing funding mechanisms to provide loans and loan guarantees and expand overall infrastructure investment.
The U.S. currently faces a $2.59 trillion shortfall in infrastructure needs, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). To close the nearly $2.6 trillion 10-year investment gap, meet future needs, and restore the U.S. global competitive advantage, ASCE estimates that all levels of government and the private sector must increase investment to 3.5 percent from 2.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product by 2025. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. lags behind twelve other nations in overall infrastructure. For years, the federal government has struggled to fund our country’s infrastructure needs. The REPAIR Act will leverage public dollars to lure private sector infrastructure investment.
The REPAIR Act would establish an Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA) to complement federal funds 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 Chief Executive Officer 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. Five percent of IFA funding would be reserved for rural projects. 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.
“To build a prosperous America that lifts up all people, we must have functioning, up-to-date infrastructure that meets our 21st century needs. To build back better, America’s crumbling roads, bridges, railway, transmission lines, water, and broadband systems require significant, long-term investments that go beyond maintenance,” said Rep. Peters. “By establishing an infrastructure bank that connects federal funds with private capital, the REPAIR Act will bring our infrastructure systems up to speed while keeping fiscal sustainability in mind.”
“If we are going to truly rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, it’s going to take a broad mix of both private and public dollars,” Rep. Gonzalez said. “The REPAIR Act will equip the United States with a new financing tool to better leverage private dollars. This will allow for further investments into local infrastructure needs that will help create jobs and strengthen our communities.”
Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
“The time has come to put sizeable, long-term, tangible capital investment into our nation's infrastructure. From bumpy roads to worn-down bridges to dilapidated airports to overwhelmed water and sewage systems, commuters, homeowners, travelers, and our overall economy have become too familiar with our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which costs us tens of billions of dollars every year,” said Sen. Warner. “We must enact bold legislation to modernize our infrastructure, and the REPAIR Act will need to be a part of that equation.”
“Missouri is a national transportation hub and location is our top competitive advantage,” said Sen. Blunt. “To keep that advantage, we need to invest in improving the safety and reliability of our roads, bridges, rail networks, and waterways. I’m proud to join Senator Warner in introducing this bipartisan bill to help states and localities leverage public-private partnerships to advance their infrastructure priorities.”