April 29, 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the U.S. Senate
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and U.S. Senator Mark
Warner (Va.) reintroduced the Reinventing Economic Partnerships and
Infrastructure Redevelopment (REPAIR) Act to help close America’s widening
infrastructure gap, create jobs, and ensure America’s global competitiveness in
the 21st century by establishing an Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA) to
provide loans and loan guarantees, complement existing funding mechanisms, and
expand overall infrastructure investment.
“Missouri is a national transportation hub, and location is our top competitive advantage,” said Blunt. “To keep that advantage, we need to invest in improving the safety and reliability of our roads, bridges, rail networks, and waterways. I’m proud to join Senator Warner in introducing this bipartisan bill to help states and localities leverage public-private partnerships to advance their infrastructure priorities.”
“The time has come to put sizeable, long-term, tangible capital investment into our nation's infrastructure,” said Warner. “From bumpy roads to worn down bridges to dilapidated airports to overwhelmed water and sewage systems, commuters, homeowners, travelers, and our overall economy have become too familiar with our nation's crumbling infrastructure, which costs us tens of billions of dollars every year. We must enact bold legislation to modernize our infrastructure, and the REPAIR Act will need to be a part of that equation.”
Currently, the U.S. faces a $2.59 trillion shortfall in infrastructure needs, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Furthermore, to close the nearly $2.6 trillion 10-year investment gap, meet future needs, and restore the U.S. global competitive advantage, ASCE estimates that all levels of government and the private sector must increase investment to 3.5% from 2.5% of U.S. gross domestic product by 2025. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. lags behind twelve other nations in overall infrastructure. For years, the federal government has struggled to come up with the funding necessary to close the widening infrastructure gap, which is why the REPAIR Act will leverage public dollars to incentivize private sector infrastructure investment.
The REPAIR Act would establish a fiscally responsible IFA to complement existing infrastructure funding through loans and loan guarantees. Designed to become self-sustaining over time, this IFA would be independent of any federal agency and instead, would be run by an appointed Chief Executive Officer and a Board of Directors, while still being subjected to strong congressional and federal oversight. The IFA would only fund economically viable projects of at least $50 million, or $10 million for projects in rural areas, for which five percent of IFA funding would be reserved. In order to be considered for funding, proposed projects would undergo rigorous analysis, and must show clear public benefit, meet economic, technical and environmental standards, and be backed by a dedicated revenue stream.
In addition to Blunt and Warner, the REPAIR Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), John Cornyn (Texas), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and Chris Coons (Del.).
Companion legislation was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Scott Peters (Calif.) and Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio).