Delaney to Transportation Chairman: New Highway Bill Must Increase Infrastructure Investment

Delaney to Transportation Chairman: New Highway Bill Must Increase Infrastructure Investment

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will consider new Highway Bill next week

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 16, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) wrote to House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster Thursday, urging him to increase baseline funding levels in the next highway bill. The Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is expected to markup a new highway bill next week. In his letter, Delaney wrote, “Instead of continuing our glide path to a third-world infrastructure, our next highway bill should reverse course and start our infrastructure comeback. A meaningful increase in our infrastructure investment will create millions of jobs and help our businesses stay competitive in the global economy.”

Absent Congressional action, the Highway Trust Fund will lose spending authority on October 29. In January, Delaney introduced the Infrastructure 2.0 Act (H.R. 625), which uses revenues from international tax reform to fund a six-year highway bill at increased levels and creates a new permanent national infrastructure fund to provide financing to state and local governments. Since 2013, Delaney has built broad bipartisan support for using revenues from corporate profits abroad to rebuild America.

The text of the letter is as follows:

 

Dear Chairman Shuster,

As you work to bring a draft of a Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for a mark-up, I encourage you to start from the premise that continuing baseline funding levels will only lead to a further deterioration of our already failing infrastructure. Public investment in infrastructure, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, has fallen 54% since 1960. Instead of continuing our glide path to a third-world infrastructure, our next highway bill should reverse course and start our infrastructure comeback. A meaningful increase in our infrastructure investment will create millions of jobs and help our businesses stay competitive in the global economy.

According to data from the Congressional Budget Office, a new six-year bill starting in 2016 would authorize $328 billion at baseline levels.  To start making a dent in our infrastructure deficit, we should be investing ten to twenty percent more, meaning a six-year bill would cost between $360 billion and $400 billion.

Ideally, our next long-term highway bill will include both increased funding and increased financing for infrastructure projects.  While many have focused squarely on the importance of increasing funding, we should also take this opportunity to create a new, large-scale infrastructure financing entity that will make cheaper financing available to states and local municipalities for decades to come, not just for the next few years.  Availability of cheap, long-term financing is absolutely necessary to begin the many long-term infrastructure projects we need get our economy on-track for increased global competitiveness.

As you know, my bipartisan Infrastructure 2.0 Act uses $170 billion in revenue from international tax reform to both plus up the Highway Trust fund by $120 billion and to create a new $50 billion American Infrastructure Fund to provide states and local municipalities with up to $750 billion of simultaneous financing for their infrastructure projects.  If we want to address our infrastructure crisis, we have to go big and baseline funding just won’t get us there.  We can grow jobs, grow our economy, and make our businesses more competitive.

There’s a bipartisan coalition ready to support increased infrastructure investment.  I look forward to reviewing your draft.

Sincerely,

John K. Delaney

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