Congressmen: Bring offshore money back to U.S., invest in infrastructure

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 4/16/2014

Members of Congress are inviting companies that earn money outside the U.S. to invest in American infrastructure in exchange for a tax break.

U.S. Reps. John Delaney, D-Md., and Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Md., have 60 cosponsors in the House – 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans for the bill they call the Partnership to Build America, HR2084.

They introduced the bill in 2013, but this past week they wrote letters to members of Congress to urge support.

They want Congress to create a national infrastructure fund – also known as an infrastructure bank – and they want to attract $50 billion in private-sector funding to start it. Once in operation, an infrastructure bank would loan money to states, regional governments and localities to finance infrastructure projects.

Delaney and Fitzpatrick believe that $50 billion could translate to $750 billion in investments in transportation infrastructure, water, energy, communications and educational facilities.

Their bill would concentrate on larger projects and would not be meant for everyday maintenance or smaller infrastructure projects.

The lawmakers see their idea as a short-term fix as Congress works on longer-term solutions to fund infrastructure for the next highway bill.

The Senate companion to the Delaney-Fitzpatrick bill is S1957, filed by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. That bill has 12 cosponsors.

Critics of an infrastructure bank say tolls could end up playing a significant role in road and bridge projects as the builders pay back the infrastructure bank.

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