Blunt reintroduces bill to help boost private investment for infrastructure repairs

Bipartisan legislation reintroduced by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) on Thursday would establish a special financing authority to allow state and local governments to leverage private investment dollars in projects that help repair the nation’s aging infrastructure.

The Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act would establish an independent, non-partisan financing authority to provide loans and loan guarantees that help state and local governments secure financing for road, bridge, rail, port, water, sewer and other infrastructure projects.

“Missouri is a transportation hub, and improving our roads, bridges and waterways is critical for economic growth in our state and across the nation,” Blunt said. “This bipartisan bill will provide much-needed resources to strengthen infrastructure and help ensure Missouri’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses are able to remain competitive in an increasingly global economy.”

Under the bill, which Blunt introduced with U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the authority would receive initial seed funding and make $300 billion or more available in total project investments.

In order to close a 10-year, $2 trillion gap in infrastructure funding, investment from all levels of government and the private sector must increase from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports. Currently, the country spends approximately 2 percent of GDP on infrastructure, half of the amount spent 50 years ago.

According to the World Economic Forum, the United States ranks 12th among 144 developed countries in overall infrastructure compared to its global competitors.