WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced legislation that would use federal investment in transportation infrastructure to create jobs and new opportunities for millions of Americans. The American Infrastructure Investment Fund Act of 2011 would start a $5 billion fund to drive private investment in transportation infrastructure by using a variety of tools, such as loans and loan guarantees, to provide eligible projects financial assistance, thereby incentivizing the private sector to do the same. Senator Lautenberg is Chairman of the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security Subcommittee.
“America’s transportation infrastructure is a linchpin for economic success and global leadership,” Chairman Rockefeller said. “But in recent years, our infrastructure has deteriorated and is at a breaking point. Our roads are crumbling, our aviation system is overloaded, our passenger rail network is too slow and our maritime infrastructure is not up to the demands of global trade. Our bill offers an investment mechanism to leverage the vast amount of private capital waiting to be put to use and set a new course in order to meet America’s 21st century infrastructure needs and ultimately support American jobs and make our economy stronger.”
"The United States has not adequately invested in its transportation infrastructure, and we're seeing the results in our crumbling roads and bridges, airport delays, and a rail network that doesn't meet the demands of travelers and businesses," said Senator Lautenberg. "To remain globally competitive and spur economic development, we simply must invest in our transportation systems. This legislation would create an infrastructure fund that leverages federal dollars with private investment, so that America can start breaking ground on transportation projects that will create jobs and help put our economy on the right track."
The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission found that the annual investment required to maintain and improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure ranges between $225 and $340 billion. Leveraging federal funds to attract private capital is an effective way for the federal government to generate billions in additional investment into major transportation projects beyond what would otherwise be possible using public funds alone.
Key Aspects of the American Infrastructure Investment Fund Act of 2011:
- Establishes in the Department of Transportation (DOT) a fund with the primary objective of investing in transportation projects that provide measurable improvements to the economic competitiveness of the United States.
- Uses a variety of tools, such as loans and loan guarantees to provide financial assistance to eligible projects evaluated in an objective and transparent manner to encourage private, regional, State, and local entities to invest in these critical projects.
- Authorizes $5 billion for the fund for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
- Defines the fund so that it can broaden its investment portfolio into other types of infrastructure projects, such as telecommunications, energy, and water projects in the future.
- Authorizes the National Infrastructure Investment Grants program within the DOT. This competitive grant program would provide funds to build new or improve existing transportation infrastructure.
- Provides increased flexibility to States for the types of projects they may fund with their Federal formula grants.