Hanna, Hahn present bill to fund local transportation projects

Reps. Richard Hannah (R-NY) and Janice Hahn (D-CA), both members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced a bipartisan bill Tuesday to re-establish a system of state-managed infrastructure banks to help fund local transportation projects.

“Robust infrastructure keeps the travelling public safe, facilitates trade and commerce, and creates jobs and investment in our economy,” Hanna said. “We’ve seen state infrastructure banks work in red and blue states alike.”

The legislation, titled the State Transportation and Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act (STIFIA), is designed to amend a federal highway bill already in force, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (also known as MAP-21). STIFIA would authorize states to establish infrastructure banks using existing federal transportation dollars through 2020.

“As a representative of the country’s largest port complex, I know how critical infrastructure funding is to both our local and national economy,” Hahn said. “America faces an infrastructure crisis. For years, our roads, bridges and ports have deteriorated and been neglected, hindering transportation and delaying our full recovery from the recession. This legislation is an important step in ensuring local infrastructure projects get the vital funding they need to create jobs and build the goods movement system our businesses need to succeed.”

The Hanna-Hahn legislation brings back the concept of state infrastructure banks, which had operated in many states from 2005-2009 under similar legislation. These banks would work to provide loans, construction debt financing, or lines of credit for highway and other transportation projects in various local areas. The STIFIA program would put the projects and their financing in the hands of the states and local governments, which are much more familiar with the needs and priorities in those areas than the federal government.

“During difficult budgetary times, these banks seeded with federal dollars can help leverage private investment in local projects across the nation,” Hanna said. “This is precisely the type of cost-effective, flexible and innovative transportation policy that Congress should support now more than ever. I look forward to working with Representative Hahn and my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to enact this legislation this year.”