Blumenauer, Kelly Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Upgrade America’s Schools, Hospitals, Libraries, and Courthouses
Washington D.C. – Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), both members of the Ways and Means Committee, today introduced legislation to drive private sector investment in improving public building infrastructure. The bill would permit state and local governments to access $5 billion in private activity bonds (PABs) to finance construction of critical infrastructure projects for public buildings around the country, such as schools, hospitals, courthouses, universities, and fire stations.
“It’s no secret that all sectors of American infrastructure are falling apart and we’re falling behind,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “The Public Buildings Renewal Act will spur billions of dollars of investment in our nation’s schools, publicly-owned hospitals, and other public buildings. We can’t continue to underinvest in facilities that serve our students, patients, and educators. They deserve better.”
“The Public Buildings Renewal Act is a win-win-win for American infrastructure, jobs, and taxpayers. There is desperate need to repair aging buildings throughout our country, and public-private partnerships are a great way to achieve that goal. This is a chance to repair countless schools, hospitals, courthouses, and more, while reviving our local economies. The bill was scored by the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, which indicated we can accomplish this at a relatively low cost. We can’t afford to let this opportunity slip away” said Rep. Kelly.
The Public Buildings Renewal Act would significantly improve the state of our nation’s infrastructure by opening the American public building market to the private sector to enter into public-private partnerships. These partnerships have primarily been used for transportation projects but currently public building projects are ineligible to use federal tax-exempt facility bonds to address the more than $500 billion in school infrastructure needs nationwide. With the passage of the Public Buildings Renewal Act, State and local governments would be able to enter into long-term contracts with a private sector company to design, build, finance and/or operate the building for a defined period of time, creating jobs and spurring investment in rebuilding critical public infrastructure.
In addition to Reps. Blumenauer and Kelly, the bill was cosponsored by Reps. Larson (D-CT), Marchant (R-TX), Kind (D-WI), Walorski (R-IN), Suozzi (D-NY), Zeldin (R-NY), Tonko (D-NY), Hurd (R-TX)
You can find an infographic on the economic benefits of the Public Buildings Renewal Act here.