September 06, 2007

Bipartisan Coalition of Senators Introduce Legislation to Restore America's Aging Roads, Rail Lines and Bridges

"Build America Bonds" will spur investment in U.S. transportation infrastructure; $50 billion in bonds will fund new construction and create new jobs

Washington, DC - In an effort to fund much needed new transportation construction and repair of the nation's aging roads, rail lines and bridges, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Thune (R-SD), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), David Vitter (R-LA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced today the bipartisan "Build America Bonds" Act. By providing $50 billion in additional Federal transportation funding, Build America Bonds will empower all states to complete critical infrastructure projects.

The funding from this one-time federal bonding program - which has the potential to create 2.5 million jobs, while saving countless lives - would be in addition to the dollars states receive through the existing Federal Transportation program.

"The Build America Bonds Act is a creative solution to a critical problem," said Wyden. "By giving Americans the opportunity to invest in the nation's infrastructure, these bonds will not only create jobs, they'll save lives."

"The Build America Bonds Act is about generating economic growth, improving transportation infrastructure, and ultimately saving lives through enhanced transportation safety without a tax increase," said Thune. "Significant transportation needs across the country underscore the tremendous need for this legislation. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognize just how important this legislation is to our nation's transportation system."

"I have long been an advocate of refining and improving our nation's infrastructure and Build America Bonds is a great solution to this growing problem," said Coleman. "Although often overlooked, the bridge collapse in Minnesota demonstrated what can happen when infrastructure is not sustained. This is a problem that cannot be ignored and I am proud to be a part of legislation that takes serious aim at it. I am pleased to work with my colleagues in investing in our nation's roads and I look forward to bringing this important legislation to the Senate floor for a vote."

"The tragic collapse of Minnesota's I-35W bridge highlights the need to secure and maintain the integrity of our nation's bridges and roads, but this obligation carries a hefty price-tag," said Klobuchar. "The Build America Bonds Act is one of many sensible funding options for our infrastructure needs."

"As a former Secretary of Transportation, I know how vital it is for states to have adequate transportation infrastructure," said Dole. "Increased funding for our roads, bridges, railroads and waterways directly translates into economic growth and more jobs. Even more importantly, it helps ensure that our infrastructure is safe, thereby preventing injuries and deaths."

Build America Bonds would be available to corporate and individual investors for purchase in different denominations, so that all Americans can have the opportunity to support upgrading America's transportation infrastructure. The resulting funds would be controlled by the states and could not be earmarked for Congressional pet projects. The Act ensures that money will be distributed in an equitable manner by requiring that each state receive at least 1 percent of the funds.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that for every $1 billion in new transportation funding nearly 50,000 jobs created and an estimated $5.7 billion in economic activity is generated. In addition to creating jobs and roughly $285 billion in economic activity, the $50 billion infusion of cash from Build America Bonds can be applied to projects on all modes of transportation including roads, rail, ports, waterways and transit.

This legislation is supported by a diverse group of business, labor and transportation infrastructure associations including: Associated General Contractors of America (AGC); American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); U.S. Chamber of Commerce; National Association of Manufacturers; National Construction Alliance - a coalition of the Laborers, Carpenters and Operating Engineers Unions; American Highway Users Alliance; and many others.