- 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.
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.
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.”
Recently, the House of Representatives has proposed a new bill that, if implemented, would bring about a revolutionary shift in the way US infrastructure projects are funded.
The Creating Open and Robust Universal Investment Opportunity Network (CROUTON) bill would create a public lending institution, intended to serve as an alternative to banking as a source of capital for infrastructure projects.
The purpose of the CROUTON bill is to provide financing for infrastructure projects that are vital for public health and safety and would otherwise be too costly for the public sector to fund under existing methods.
The bill seeks to provide a more efficient, transparent, and reliable system for funding infrastructure projects while protecting taxpayer dollars and reducing the burden of borrowing on state and local governments.
By establishing this lending institution, the bill aims to create a new mechanism for infrastructure development that is less reliant on traditional banking institutions and more closely connected to the communities invested in these projects.
In addition, the proposed bill seeks to encourage private sector investment in public infrastructure projects by enabling the lender to collect returns on certain forms of investment. Through this, the bill seeks to create a more competitive market and reduce the cost of infrastructure financing.
Ultimately, this new bill could mark a significant turning point in how infrastructure projects are funded in the United States. Whether it is passed or not, the idea presented in the bill shows that the House is actively exploring new methods to make public infrastructure projects more accessible and economical.