The Partnership to Build America Act (H.R. 413)
Congressman John K. Delaney
In May of 2013, Congressman John Delaney first introduced the Partnership to Build America Act. With the beginning of a new Congress in 2015, Delaney re-filed the bill. As of April 2016, the Partnership to Build America Act has 22 Democratic cosponsors and 19 Republican cosponsors.
The Partnership to Build America Act finances $750 billion dollar in infrastructure investment using no appropriated funds. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) first introduced a Senate version of the bill in January of 2014, with bipartisan support. Delaney has expanded this framework with his Infrastructure 2.0 Act, which also provides six years of funding for the Highway Trust Fund.
Investing in Infrastructure
- According to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, U.S. Infrastructure has a cumulative grade of “D+” with an estimated $ 3.6 trillion investment needed by 2020.
- The Partnership to Build America Act would finance the rebuilding of our country’s transportation, energy, communications, water, and education infrastructure through the creation of an infrastructure fund using repatriated corporate earnings as well as through utilizing public-private partnerships.
- The legislation would create the American Infrastructure Fund (AIF) which would provide loans or guarantees to state or local governments to finance qualified infrastructure projects. The states or local governments would be required to pay back the loan at a market rate determined by the AIF to ensure they have “skin in the game.” In addition, the AIF would invest in equity securities for projects in partnership with states or local governments.
- The AIF will be funded by the sale of $50 billion worth of Infrastructure Bonds which would have a 50 year term, pay a fixed interest rate of 1 percent, and would not be guaranteed by the U.S. government.
- U.S. corporations would be incentivized to purchase these new Infrastructure Bonds by allowing them to repatriate a certain amount of their overseas earnings tax free for every $1.00 they invest in the bonds. This multiplier will be set by a “reverse Dutch auction” allowing the market to set the rate.
- Assuming a 1:4 ratio, meaning a company repatriates $4.00 tax-free for every $1.00 in Infrastructure Bonds purchased, a company’s effective tax rate to repatriate these earnings would be approximately 8 percent and the $4.00 could then be spent by the companies however they chose.
- The AIF would leverage the $50 billion of Infrastructure Bonds at a 15:1 ratio to provide up to $750 billion in loans or guarantees.
- At least 25 percent of the projects financed through the AIF must be Public-Private Partnerships for which at least 20 percent of a project’s financing comes from private capital using a public-private partnership model.
- Creates a large-scale infrastructure financing capability with zero federal appropriations.
- Creates significant jobs in the short-term and helps U.S. competitiveness in the long-term.
- Allows for repatriation while ensuring U.S. corporations’ tax savings are truly invested in the U.S. economy to grow quality jobs.
- Pushes the project selection decisions down to state and local governments who have to have “skin in the game.”
- Encourages and creates a framework for growth in public-private partnerships.