Cong. Delaney is preparing a bill to address this problem.
The nation's infrastructure, including roads, bridges, rails, dams, drinking water and solid waste, is in sad shape, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. In its 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, ASCE gives the nation's infrastructure a grade of D+. Maryland fared a little better. It received a C-..
"It says that we've underinvested in our infrastructure, and that puts us at a competitive disadvantage," says 6th District Congressman John Delaney.
The freshman representative is preparing the Partnership to Build America Act to help deal with this problem. He says it would set up the Office of Partnership in the US Treasury Department. The OIP would establish the American Infrastructure Fund which would be funded through the sale of $50-billion in Infrastructure Bonds.
Delaney says the legislation would encourage corporations to purchase these bonds. "In exchange for making the $50-billion investment, they get the ability to bring $200-billion back overseas tax free," he says. "That $50-billion that's invested in this insurance entity would allow it to guarantee $500-billion to $750-billion in infrastructure projects." Delaney continues.
The money would be used to provide loans or guarantee loans to local governments to pay for infrastructure repairs. No taxpayer money would be involved, according to Delaney.
Delaney says the states would have some control over the fund, and would decide which projects should get funding.
He says the legislation has bipartisan support, as well as backing from labor and business organizations. Delaney says he plans to introduce the legislation in the next few weeks.
All infrastructure would be covered, he says; not just highways. "Roads, bridges, energy infrastructure, communication infrastructure, educational facilities, and water," Delaney says.