For a video of the Congressman's presentation, click here.
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.
He said the fund, the centerpiece of his recently proposed Partnership to Build America Act, would provide localities with $750 billion over several decades and create a valuable tool for financing qualified projects. The fund would offer new Infrastructure Bonds with a 50 year term, a fixed interest rate of 1 percent, and no federal government guarantee. However, the bonds would be attractive to U.S. companies by allowing them to repatriate a certain amount of their overseas earnings tax free and invest in the American economy.
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. He noted other previous efforts to fund infrastructure, such as through infrastructure banks, failed to gain traction due to a lack of bipartisan support. By using corporate earnings and leveraging public-private partnerships, the infrastructure fund would require no new federal appropriations. He said the fund would be a non-profit entity, not a federal government enterprise.
Local elected officials on the COG Board of Directors asked Delaney about the impact the proposed fund would have on government credit ratings. Delaney said the fund wouldn’t have an immediate effect since it dosn’t require new tax dollars or add debt, but he said over the long-term it would have a positive effect on the tax base, add jobs, and promote economic activity. Delaney also noted local projects that could greatly benefit from the fund, such as improving transit in Montgomery and Frederick Counties.