The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has urged the President to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit in the 2014 State of the Union.
In a January 23 letter to President Obama, the AGC called for bipartisan solutions to the infrastructure gap, including support for Congressman John K. Delaney’s Partnership to Build America Act.
Delaney’s bill currently has 25 Democratic and 25 Republican co-sponsors in the House. The bill creates a $50 billion dollar infrastructure fund that can be leveraged to $750 billion. This fund will be capitalized by the sale of 50-year bonds that are not guaranteed by the Federal government and pay a one per cent interest rate.
To encourage U.S. corporations to purchase these bonds, they will be allowed to repatriate a certain dollar amount — determined by auction — in overseas earnings tax-free for every $1 they invest in the bonds. The fund will then provide loans or loan guarantees to states and municipalities to finance transportation, energy, education, communications, and water infrastructure projects.
“The state of our union’s infrastructure is poor,ˮ said the letter igned by AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “Our nation suffers from an infrastructure deficit of deferred maintenance, deferred modernization, and delayed expansion that fails to accommodate increased population and impedes economic activity.
“The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure graded our nation’s infrastructure with a D+ and estimated that investments of $43.6 trillion would be needed by 2020 to significantly improve that grade. ”
According to the AGC, there are 1.9 million fewer workers in the industry today than there were during the sector’s peak in 2006, while spending levels continue to be held back by declining public sector investments.
“The State of the Union provides you the perfect opportunity to outline to Congressional Republicans and Democrats your plan to work with them to increase public and private investments in our roads, bridges, ports, airports, waterways, and water systems,” wrote Sandherr.