Sens. Warner, Blunt Introduce Infrastructure Finance Bill
The bipartisan group of lawmakers say the legislation, which provides a new way to pay for infrastructure projects, would allow states and localities to build quicker.
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced legislation Thursday that would provide a new way for state and local governments to get low-interest financing to help build infrastructure projects.
The proposal would create an independent, nonpartisan financing authority, seeded with $10 billion, to offer loans and loan guarantees to states and localities. The idea is that the fund could help provide the final piece of financing needed to get a project underway in cases where projects also have private investment.
Warner, in a statement, emphasized that the legislation isn't a "silver bullet" but instead "creates smart new tools to help our states and localities unlock billions of dollars in additional private investments at a time of very favorable interest rates."
The proposed Infrastructure Financing Authority would be designed to facilitate big projects -- those with a price tag of $50 million or more -- that are considered regionally or nationally significant. A Warner spokesman said the program could offer lower interest rates than conventional financing -- just slightly above the rates of Treasury securities -- as well as longer terms and flexible repayment schedules.
The new authority would finance no more than 49 percent of a project's cost, and loans and loan guarantees would carry fees that helped make the authority sustainable on its own.
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