Bill would help states and localities leverage private funds to build and repair outdated transportation, water, and energy infrastructure
WASHINGTON- June 17, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill this week joined a bipartisan coalition of nine Senators to introduce legislation to establish a new infrastructure financing authority that would help Missouri better leverage private funds to build and maintain the state’s outdated infrastructure, without the use of federal tax dollars.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Missouri a C- on its annual 2013 infrastructure report card. The Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act helps address the country’s investment shortfall in maintaining and improving transportation networks, water and wastewater systems, and energy infrastructure.
“The United States—and my home state in particular—is in an infrastructure crisis,” said McCaskill, the former Missouri State Auditor. “At a time when Congressional leaders have failed to produce or let us vote on a long-term highway bill, this is an innovative approach that can help in Missouri and in states across the country to start tackling our highest priority infrastructure needs.”
Missouri is home to the nation’s seventh largest state highway system, with more miles than the Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas’ systems combined. The state ranks tenth in the nation in number of bridges rated structurally deficient—with those deficient bridges carrying an average of 5.1 million passengers every day. Missouri has more major bridges than any other state.
Key findings of Missouri’s 2013 infrastructure report card include:
3,528 of the 24,334 bridges in Missouri (14.5 percent) are considered structurally deficient.
3,365 of the 24,334 bridges in Missouri (13.8 percent) are considered functionally obsolete.
Driving on roads in need of repair costs Missouri motorists $1.6 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $380 per motorist.
Missouri has 130,360 public road miles, with 31 percent in poor or mediocre condition.
Missouri’s gas tax of 17.3 cents per gallon has not been increased in nearly 20 years.
Missouri has reported $7.1 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.
Missouri has reported $5.8 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.
The BRIDGE Act is also sponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.). The legislation has been endorsed by a wide variety of stakeholders and industry groups, including the Transportation Construction Coalition, American Association of Port Authorities, American Trucking Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The BRIDGE Act would establish an independent, nonpartisan financing authority to complement existing U.S. infrastructure funding—providing loans and loan guarantees to help states and localities fund the most economically viable road, bridge, rail, port, water, sewer, and other significant infrastructure projects.
Building on her efforts to increase job creation and economic competitiveness in Missouri, McCaskill also recently introduced the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, a bipartisan and widely-supported bill to boost job opportunities by streamlining the federal permitting process, which is currently bogged down by red tape and uncertainty hindering investment and job creation. Missouri support continues to grow for the legislation—which recently passed out of committee with near-unanimous approval—from a wide variety of industry and trade groups including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Realtors, and Soybean Association.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/jobs to learn more about McCaskill’s fight to boost job opportunities for Missouri.