Minnesota Bridge Collapse Underscores National Infrastructure Deficit - Infrastructure Bank Proposed

1030532519_c614bfbe27_o.jpgAugust first’s collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis offered a stark demonstration of the state of infrastructure in the nation – a topic which normally receives scant attention in the media. It also coincided with proposed legislation by Senate Banking Chairman, Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to establish a national infrastructure bank with $60 billion credit bonding capacity to fund publicly held projects.

Cosponsored by Senator Chuck Hagel from Nebraska, state and local authorities could apply to the bank to fund new road construction or repairs, mass transit networks, bridges, drinking and wastewater systems.  Projects will need to cost a minimum of $75 million to qualify.  The legislation could also help facilitate public-private partnerships for public authorities seeking private capital.

The legislation seeks to fill the funding gap to repair and modernize aging infrastructure projects across the nation. As summarized by the proposed Act’s authors, these gaps include:

• An estimated $21.8 billion annual need over 20 years to improve operational capacity of transit systems (Federal Transit Administration.)
• $131.7 billion and $9.4 billion annually for 20 years to fix “deficient” roads and bridges, respectively (Federal Highway Administration.)
• $151 billion and $390 billion annually for 20 years to repair obsolete drinking water and wastewater systems (Environmental Protection Agency.)
For more information on the proposed legislation, click here.