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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Partnership to Build America Act enters House


U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) last week introduced The Partnership to Build America Act (H.R. 2084), which proposes to create a fund to help upgrade the nation's aging infrastructure without burdening taxpayers.

Co-sponsored by 13 Republican and 13 Democratic representatives, the bill would create a $50 billion American Infrastructure Fund (AIF) that could be leveraged to $750 billion.

The fund would be capitalized by the federal government's sale of 50-year, non-guaranteed bonds, which would offer a 1 percent interest rate. U.S. corporations would be allowed to repatriate a certain amount in overseas earnings tax-free for every dollar invested to encourage bond purchases.

The AIF would provide loans or loan guarantees to states and municipalities to finance transportation, energy, communications, water and education infrastructure projects.

"We can't compete in the global economy of the 21st century without a significant investment in our infrastructure," said Delaney in a prepared statement. "This legislation will finance a massive investment in U.S. infrastructure, get Americans back to work now and position our businesses to grow for decades to come."

The Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) commended Delaney for developing an "innovative" financing proposal. When paired with freight-focused grant programs, such as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, financing available through H.R. 2084 could be a useful tool to help bolster freight transportation infrastructure, CAGTC officials said in a press release.

"As a national organization focused on advancing policies and funding options that support efficient freight movement, CAGTC recognizes the infrastructure loans and loan guarantees created by the Partnership to Build America Act as an important piece of the total financing package needed to build freight infrastructure projects," said CAGTC Executive Director Leslie Blakey.

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More News from 5/28/2013