House members revive infrastructure bank proposal

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But in a "Dear Colleague" letter released on Thursday, the group of 15 Republicans and 15 Democrats pressed again for a national transportation fund.

The group said it would be possible this time to attract private investment into a national infrastructure bank with minimal federal spending. 

"Join us in helping to rebuild and expand our nation’s infrastructure by cosponsoring H.R. 2084," the letter said. "This bipartisan legislation will generate millions of jobs and grow our economy by creating a $750 billion privately-financed mechanism to rebuild our country’s infrastructure at zero cost to the taxpayer."

The legislation, dubbed the Partnership to Build America Act, calls for an initial federal outlay of $50 billion, which has been proposed before.

Most of the previous infrastructure bank proposals have come from the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is why supporters say this new action in the GOP-led House is important.  

In their "Dear Colleague" letter, the lawmakers supporting the new House infrastructure bank proposal said it would leverage [the initial $50 billion] to provide low-cost loans and loan guarantees totaling $750 billion to state and local infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. 

"The [American Infrastructure Fund] will sell Infrastructure Bonds at a 50-year maturity that pay 1 percent interest to capitalize the $50 billion fund," the letter said. "These Infrastructure Bonds are not guaranteed by the U.S. government. Corporations are incentivized to purchase these relatively unattractive bonds through repatriating approximately $4.00 of their overseas earnings tax-free for every $1.00 they invest in the bonds. The AIF will lend to states and municipalities to help finance qualified transportation, energy, communications, water, and education infrastructure projects."

The letter was signed by Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Luke Messer (R-Ind.)

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