Torres Introduces Package of Bills Addressing Infrastructure Funding Gap
WASHINGTON, DC – To mark Infrastructure Week 2017 (May 15th – 19th), Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) has introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at addressing the funding shortfall in the nation’s infrastructure spending: the Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Act and the American Infrastructure Opportunity Bonds Act.
“In California and across this country, bridges are crumbling, traffic is worsening, and roads and rail networks can’t to keep up with shipping demands,” said Torres. “With our nation’s infrastructure funding gap continuing to grow, it has become abundantly clear that we need to find new and innovative ways to upgrade and maintain our nation’s roads, bridges, and water facilities. These two bills will do just that.”
The Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Act would help attract outside financing through “Regional Infrastructure Accelerators.” Through these multi-state organizations, local and state governments would receive the technical assistance and funding needed to undertake feasibility analyses, preliminary design, and other necessary studies required to get a project off the ground. Accelerators would also provide a vehicle to match projects with interested investors and for developing best practices and regional strategic planning, making existing infrastructure funds go further.
The American Infrastructure Opportunity Bonds Act would take advantage of times when the interest rate on Treasury bills and bonds drops below the rate of inflation making borrowing essentially free. This legislation would set a trigger when this rate is hit to direct the Treasury to begin borrowing and to direct that new borrowing to be spent on infrastructure investments.
“There is no question that Congress and state governments need to step up and take the lead in filling the infrastructure funding gap, but in order for our economy to remain competitive, we can’t afford to leave any stone unturned when it comes to options to meet this shortfall. As discussions over a large infrastructure plan continue, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Washington to make sure these proposals are included.”