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American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

Senators reintroduce legislation to boost U.S. infrastructure

The Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act is sponsored by U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

   U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Mark Warner, D-Va., reintroduced legislation last Wednesday to improve the nation’s infrastructure, dubbed the Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act.
   The BRIDGE Act is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Thom Tillis, R-N.C.
   Sens. Blunt and Warner said the legislation is designed to create a new infrastructure financing authority to help states and localities better leverage private funds to build and maintain the nation’s outdated infrastructure.
   The U.S. currently spends about 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on infrastructure, about half of what it did 50 years ago.
   The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, which graded the nation’s infrastructure with a cumulative D+, suggests that to close the $2 trillion, 10-year investment gap, meet future need, and restore the nation’s global competitive advantage, investment from all levels of government and the private sector must be increased from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent of U.S. GDP by 2025.
   To help address the funding shortfall, the BRIDGE Act will establish an independent, non-partisan financing authority to complement existing U.S. infrastructure funding, Sens. Blunt and Warner explained.
   The authority would provide loans and loan guarantees to help states and localities fund road, bridge, rail, port, water, sewer and other infrastructure projects.
   Initially, the authority would receive seed funding of up to $10 billion, which would incentivize private sector investment and make possible $300 billion or more in total project investment.
   “The BRIDGE Act offers a bold, bipartisan solution to help address our infrastructure needs by incentivizing private investment and pairing it with public resources,” Warner said. “This legislation will set a clear framework that will help create jobs, expand U.S. commerce and trade, and keep American businesses competitive.”

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