Reps. Blumenauer, Kelly, Sewell, and Davis Introduce Bill to Invest in Surface Transportation Projects

May 8, 2019
Press Release
Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Rodney Davis (R-IL) today introduced the Building United States Infrastructure and Leveraging Development (BUILD) Act, which would raise the federal cap on private activity bonds for surface transportation and freight improvement projects by $5.8 billion. 
“We have to get serious about investing in our future. Our nation’s roads and bridges are crumbling while our global competitors are making significant infrastructure investments,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Public-Private partnerships are one of a myriad of tools the nation needs to bridge the $2 trillion infrastructure investment gap. I am hopeful that this bipartisan legislation will be part of any upcoming effort to rebuild and renew America.”
“After decades of neglect, America’s roads, highways, and bridges are crumbling. Pennsylvania knows this better than most states. 300 of our bridges become structurally deficient each year, and that’s just one example of our failing infrastructure,” said Rep. Kelly.  “This is happening throughout our country, and it threatens our economic future and American companies’ competitiveness on the global stage.  The U.S. used to have the best infrastructure in the world, but now, foreign countries like India and China far outpace us in making robust investments.  Our bipartisan, bicameral bill will fix this by helping to finance improvement projects through public-private partnerships. We must make these desperately needed investments in our nation’s highways and roads without raising taxes.  That will be a win-win for Americans!”
“Congress must take a comprehensive approach to address America’s crumbling infrastructure,” Rep. Sewell said. “From rural Alabama to New York City, our communities need more tools and increased resources to rebuild our infrastructure and improve the lives of all Americans. The BUILD Act will help spur additional investments into these critical projects and help ensure the United States can maintain its competitiveness in the 21st century.”
“Public-private partnerships are critical for the future of infrastructure in this country,” said Rep. Davis. “We need to diversify funding and financing options if we are ever going to fix our nation’s outdated infrastructure. The BUILD Act will allow for greater public-private investments in local projects.”
Private Activity Bonds (PABs) allow state or local governments the ability to issue tax-exempt debt, with approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), for qualified improvements to highways or surface freight facilities that are privately developed and operated. The BUILD Act would increase the federal cap for state and local government PABs by $5.8 billion, from $15 billion to $20.8 billion. This will allow state and local governments to enter into additional public-private partnerships to supplement future surface transportation projects with private investment.