[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
Legislation to help localities gain access to funding for infrastructure projects was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Under the Helping Communities Invest in Infrastructure Act, sponsored by Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), emphasis on localities would be enhanced to improve access to mobility options.
Specifically, the legislation would increase outreach efforts to certain communities in order to provide greater information regarding funding options. An information campaign would be dedicated to inform local officials of best practices for accessing such funding. Rural projects would see an increase in funding opportunities via accessible loans.
Congress IRS by Transport Topics
Operations at the federal Build America Bureau would be a focus of the legislation, according to the congresswoman. The Build America Bureau is designed to streamline credit opportunities and provide technical assistance in project planning, financing and delivery.
“Infrastructure touches every aspect of our lives and I’m working to ensure that communities in the Kansas City metro area are able to make the kinds of upgrades and repairs that will keep people safe and create good-paying jobs,” Davids said April 27.
“The Helping Communities Invest in Infrastructure Act makes it easier for cities, towns and rural communities to not only maintain current transportation infrastructure, but also access funding for new infrastructure projects that keep residents connected and enhance economic competitiveness,” Davids added. “Communities of all sizes deserve good, clean and efficient infrastructure. This bill would help get us there.”
Davids is a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The legislation was reported to a committee of jurisdiction.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) recently introduced the Lifting Our Communities through Advance Liquidity for Infrastructure, or LOCAL Infrastructure, Act of 2021.
The Senate measure would seek to amend the federal tax code in order to restore state and local governments’ ability to use advance refunding. Doing so, the bill’s sponsors say, would enable management of bond debt to reduce borrowing costs for certain infrastructure projects. The initiative is meant to offer incentives for communities affected economically by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation is in response to calls from state and local officials for additional infrastructure aid, the sponsors noted.
“The COVID-19 crisis continues to place financial pressure on state and local budgets and revenue streams. State and local governments should have the ability to use advance refunding to free up immediate and flexible cash to fund projects of value to their communities,” according to background the senators provided.
“The coronavirus pandemic has placed enormous stress on state and local governments,” said Wicker earlier this year. “Restoring advance refunding would help state and local governments manage their existing debts and help free up additional capital for much-needed local projects related to infrastructure, including water and wastewater systems, health care, education and other essential activities. At a time when interest rates are at historic lows, Congress should allow our local governments to seize this opportunity and pass along savings to their communities.”
“Over the past year, I’ve heard firsthand from local leaders about the strain the COVID-19 crisis is putting on state and local budgets,” Stabenow added. “That’s why I partnered with Sen. Wicker to introduce the LOCAL Infrastructure Act, which will make it less expensive for state and local governments to invest in hospitals, roads schools and other critical infrastructure.”
Want more news? Listen to today’s daily briefing below or go here for more info: