WASHINGTON, D.C. — In advance of President Obama’s address to a joint session of congress on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced new jobs legislation today that would ease our nation’s infrastructure deficit, provide for the repair of critical projects, and put Ohioans back to work.
“Communities with modern infrastructure can more easily attract jobs and economic development,” Brown said. “Investing in infrastructure not only creates jobs for the workers who are building and repairing roads, bridges, and sewer systems, but it also creates jobs at local manufacturers who build the equipment for the infrastructure projects and for the companies who use these roads, bridges and railroads to move their goods to market. It’s clear that when companies decide where to locate, expand, or invest, that infrastructure – broadband, energy, and transportation – is a critical factor in their decisions.”
“That’s why I’m proposing a National Infrastructure Bank that would couple federal loans with private equity – ensuring a public-private partnership that meets local needs,” Brown continued. “It would mean necessary funding to compete the project ahead of schedule, create jobs, and protect public safety.”
According to the Federal Highway Administration, for every $1 billion spent on highway and bridge construction, nearly 35,000 jobs are created. These include direct jobs involved in the construction of infrastructure projects, indirect jobs created by the purchase of supplies for projects, and induced jobs supported by new consumer spending when Americans go back to work. Additionally, infrastructure investments – including transportation improvements and ensuring clean, affordable water – help attract economic development. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, failing infrastructure could cost the U.S. $2.7 trillion—or $129 billion a year— in lost productivity and lost income in trade in the coming decades.
Brown outlined legislation that would create a national infrastructure bank to provide loans and loan guarantees for critical infrastructure projects of national and regional importance that create and protect jobs, increase economic competitiveness, bolster exports, and encourage private investment. Following the news conference call, Brown released a report on Ohio projects that would be eligible to apply for funding through the Infrastructure Bank. Eligible products include: transit infrastructure; public housing infrastructure; road and bridge infrastructure; water infrastructure; aviation infrastructure; freight or passenger rail infrastructure
Specifically, the National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2011 would:
• Provide low-interest loans, loan guarantees, and loan forgiveness for projects unable to obtain full financing on the private market or from local funding.
• Establish an independent entity to rate and select important projects that would achieve specific national goals of job creation, economic growth, or increased competiveness.
• Encourage increased investment from the private sector in our nation’s infrastructure.
• Create good-paying, middle-class jobs by bolstering the construction
industry including workers, suppliers, and domestic manufacturers.
• Reduce the backlog in construction projects by freeing up additional funds from existing infrastructure programs to fund additional projects at the state and local level.