Torres Introduces Bill to Fill Infrastructure Funding Gap
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) introduced legislation designed to attract private sector financing to public infrastructure projects. The Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Act (RIAA) will connect finance and infrastructure professionals with local and state governments to provide them with the technical expertise and pre-development capital needed to attract private investment.
“Yesterday’s passage of another short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund made clear that our communities cannot rely on government alone to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, and water facilities,” said Torres. “As our nation’s infrastructure funding needs continue to grow, this bill will provide local communities the technical assistance they need to develop their projects so that private funding can come in and help fill the gap.”
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the United States needs to invest $3.6 trillion over the next five years alone to adequately fund the country’s infrastructure needs. Though infrastructure projects can serve as solid investment opportunities, thus far, private capital has shied away from public infrastructure projects, because many lack access to private investors as well as the pre-development planning needed to attract private financing.
RIAA would help attract outside financing through the creation and funding of 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.
“This bill is a smart public policy,” stated Jonathan Trutt, Interim Executive Director of the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, a regional organization created by the Governors and Treasurers of the west coast states and the Premier of British Columbia to spur innovation through the use of public-private partnerships and to accelerate a pipeline of infrastructure projects in California, Oregon, and Washington. “It will foster the regional expertise necessary to tackle our infrastructure needs, create living-wage jobs, ensure our economic competitiveness, and preserve our quality of life. It is a wise investment in our future that will benefit California and the whole country.”
“Public-private partnerships are an important tool for local and state governments to get the financing we need to pay for vital infrastructure projects,” said City of Rialto Councilman Ed Scott who was Mayor Pro Tem when the city entered into a ground-breaking arrangement with Ullico and Table Rock Capital to fund Rialto Water Services, LLC. “RIAA will give communities like Rialto greater access to new funding opportunities and will save taxpayer dollars by helping localities with the expensive pre-development planning that we need to attract investment but that is often too costly for smaller localities to undertake.”
The text of the bill can be found here.