Conyers Introduces BUILD Act to Empower State and Local Governments to Invest in Job-Creation
Economic Development Bond Programs Would Lower Borrowing Costs for Detroit and Cities Across the Nation
(WASHINGTON) — On July 31, 2014, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. introduced H.R. 5330, theBringing Urgent Investment to Local Development (BUILD) Act. This critical legislation would reauthorize the Build America Bond (BAB) Program and Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds Program to enable states and municipalities to build and repair roads, schools, medical facilities, water sanitation systems, mass transit, and other essential infrastructure at lower cost.
U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr.
“The BUILD Act directly addresses the root causes of the unemployment crisis in communities where it is most severe and enables cities across the country to accelerate much-needed infrastructure projects, while spurring economic development,” said Congressman John Conyers Jr. “Investing in infrastructure and public works projects is a proven, cost-effective, market-oriented approach to empowering communities.”
BABs are taxable bonds for which the U.S. Treasury pays a direct subsidy to the issuer to reduce interest costs. The bonds empower state and local governments to build and repair roads, schools, medical facilities, water sanitation systems, mass transit, and other essential infrastructure at lower cost. In 2009-2010, every dollar from the BAB program leveraged $41 in private capital, enabling the financing of thousands of projects and the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs. The reauthorization of the BAB program has been supported by diverse organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the National Association of Counties, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. TIME magazine described this approach as one of the economic recovery effort’s biggest successes.
The BUILD Act will immediately reauthorize thenow-expired BAB Program with a 35% subsidy rate for communities facing emergency economic conditions (communities that exceed 150% of national average rate of unemployment or poverty) and a 28% subsidy rate for all other communities.
“It’s time to invest in America’s future and close our infrastructure deficit. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, our nation needs to invest approximately $2.7 trillion in roads, bridges, water and sewage systems, electrical grids, and ports by 2020. That’s just 6 years away - yet there’s only an estimated $1.6 trillion in public and private financing projected to be available over that period,” added Conyers. “Left unaddressed, it will mean more frequent power outages, traffic jams, higher prices at supermarkets, and even dangerous accidents like the bridge collapses of recent years.”
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The BUILD Act has the support of the following original cosponsors: Representatives Charles Rangel (NY-13), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Matt Cartwright (PA-17).