House bill aims to create lending institution for infrastructure projects

House bill aims to create lending institution for infrastructure projects

Dive Brief:

  • New legislation in the House of Representatives aims to create a bank to invest in U.S. infrastructure projects.
  • Introduced by Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Colin Allred (D-TX) on Jan. 24, the bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Bank Act of 2023 would create an institution to work with state and local partners to facilitate private infrastructure investments via loans and loan guarantees.
  • The bill aims to leverage the power of the private sector to spur sustained, long-term investment to create jobs and help meet infrastructure needs, Allred said in a press release.

Dive Insight:

The bank would help finance work such as transportation projects, ports, electric grid security and broadband connectivity, according to the release. The bill also allows for broad discretion by the bank to invest in any infrastructure projects that it identifies as “providing a public benefit with regards to infrastructure.”

Additionally, no less than 10% of the dollar amount of loans, equity investments, and loan guarantees would be used for infrastructure projects in rural areas.

The representatives said that while the $1.2 trillion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is critical to rebuilding the country’s crumbling infrastructure, the current level of funding from the federal government will not fully address the problem.

In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that at least another $2 trillion is needed to bring U.S. infrastructure up to acceptable levels.

“The bank serves as a complement, not a replacement, for existing programs and encourages states, municipalities and other entities to pursue all available funding sources,” Webster said in the release.

Private funding

As proposed, the bank would encourage private investment for initial capitalization through tax incentives for those investments during the first three years of operation. This approach differs from prior Infrastructure Bank proposals as it will be entirely capitalized by private investment, the release said.

The legislation was cheered by at least one trade group, the Alliance for Financing U.S. Infrastructure, a nonprofit association of businesses that would benefit from increased federal support for infrastructure development.

Alliance President J. Patrick Cave called the bill “an important milestone on the march to securing the world’s greatest infrastructure for this nation.”

“Infrastructure is not just an economic boon,” he said in a release shared with Construction Dive. “It boosts national security at a time of heightened threats around the world.”

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