Citing the urgent need to rebuild the region and nation’s aging highways water mains and electric grids U.S. Representative John Delaney (MD-06) today discussed with area leaders at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments a proposal to create a national fund for large-scale infrastructure financing.
We’ve posted video of his very informative presentation here:
John Delaney on Infrastructure at June 2013 COG Board Meeting from COG Video on Vimeo.
He said the $50 billion fund the centerpiece of his recently proposed Partnership to Build America Act would leverage $750 billion for localities over the next several decades to finance qualified projects. The bonds would be attractive to U.S. companies by allowing them to repatriate (bring back from overseas) a certain amount of their earnings tax free and invest in infrastructure projects that will create jobs and enhance the nation’s economic competitiveness.
Delaney’s proposal also encourages the creation of more public-private partnerships. At least 25 percent of the projects financed through his proposed infrastructure fund would have to be public-private partnerships for which at least 20 percent of the project’s financing comes from private capital.
Delaney said his proposal has bipartisan backing—14 Democrats and 14 Republicans support it as well as a politically diverse group of stakeholders. By using corporate earnings and leveraging public-private partnerships taxpayer dollars would not be involved. He also stressed that the fund would be a non-profit entity not a federal government enterprise.
Delaney’s presentation was met with great interest by area leaders at the Council of Governments who have been drawing attention to our transportation water and energy infrastructure needs in recent years.
For example greater investment in the region’s transportation system has been a legislative priority of the Council of Governments. Last December the Transportation Planning Board sent a letter to state lawmakers calling for additional transportation funding and highlighting successful funding strategies that have been enacted elsewhere in the country. COG leaders welcomed the transportation bills by the Virginia and Maryland legislatures this Spring to increase revenues.
COG’s Chesapeake Bay and Water Resources Policy Committee has stressed through a series of meetings with utilities and government officials the need for significant investment and funding help to meet water quality goals and new regulations. In regards to the region’s electric grid last year’s Derecho storm and subsequent power outages sparked new local and state efforts to improve energy reliability which is also critical to support water and wastewater treatment. Energy reliability continues to be a focus of COG’s Climate Energy and Environment Policy Committee.
Well-maintained infrastructure is essential to our region’s competitiveness and quality of life so it’s safe to say we’ll keep this topic on the front burner. We will also continue to follow the progress of the Congressman’s new proposal.