A bipartisan group of eleven U.S. Senators, led by Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet, has filed legislation to create the American Infrastructure Fund. Senate bill 1957 would:
Provide bond guarantees and make loans to states, local governments, and infrastructure providers for investments in certain infrastructure projects, and provide equity investments in such projects, and for other purposes.
The trade industry association Sifma describes the legislation:
On January 17, a group of 11 U.S. Senators joined 50 House members to support a proposed national infrastructure bank funded with $50 billion of taxable bonds with a one percent interest rate. The Partnership to Build America Act (S. 1957), in line with the H.R. 2084, filed in the House in May by Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., aims to help state and local governments finance initiatives to build or repair roads, bridges, highways, ports, schools, and other infrastructure projects.
This legislation feels like an evolved version of Democrat Virginia Senator Mark Warner’s BRIDGE Act legislation from November, 2013. Warner’s bill began with a $10 billion investment that would be structured as an independent government entity (think Fannie and Freddie) and relies on a government appropriation for initial funding. Loans and guarantees made under the BRIDGE Act would carry an interest rate comparable to U.S. Treasuries and capped maturities of 35 years.
Bennet’s legislation ups the initial money for the infrastructure fund to $50 billion and gets seed money by selling bonds at a 1 percent interest rate to U.S. corporations that are repatriating overseas profits. From Sifma again: