Davis bill would boost investments in U.S. roads, bridges, rail, freight improvements

With upgrades to America’s transportation infrastructure facing a funding gap of more than $1.1 trillion by 2025, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) on Jan. 25 cosponsored a bipartisan bill aimed at boosting the nation’s road, rail, bridge, and freight improvements via public-private investment partnerships.

“It’s no secret that our infrastructure is in desperate need of additional investment,” Rep. Davis said. “I look forward to working with lawmakers in Congress to pass the BUILD Act and other critical infrastructure legislation.”

The BUILD Act, known as the Building United States Infrastructure and Leveraging Development Act, H.R. 451, would increase the national limitation amount for qualified highway or surface freight transfer facility bonds, according to the congressional record bill summary. Rep. Davis introduced H.R. 451 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

Private Activity Bonds, in particular, allow state or local governments to issue tax-exempt debt, with approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), for qualified highway or surface freight transfer facilities, according to information provided by Rep. Davis’ office, which noted that as of Dec. 1, 2020, no surface transportation Private Activity Bonds remain available because the entire $15 billion statutory cap has been issued or allocated by DOT.

If enacted, H.R. 451 would double the statutory cap to $30 billion, allowing state and local governments to enter into public-private partnerships and improve their ability to finance additional surface transportation projects, according to the congressman’s office.

“Investing in our nation’s infrastructure is one of my top priorities in Congress,” said Rep. Davis. “Our bipartisan legislation expands the use of an innovative public-private partnership to encourage new investments in road, bridge, rail, and freight projects.”