The BUILD Act is the latest proposal for a national infrastructure bank. Introduced by Democratic and Republican Senators, BUILD creates an American Infrastructure Financing Authority that would serve as an independent fund for the “most important and economically viable’’ projects in the country. According to the bill’s sponsors, BUILD is supported by the AFL-CIO and the US Chamber of Commerce, two groups that rarely agree on anything.
This proposal differs from the White House’s and previous Congressional proposals in several ways.
Most importantly the bank would make loans, not grants. Eligibility would be restricted to nationally or regionally significant revenue-generating projects. The Authority could provide up to 50% of a project’s cost, and would rely heavily on the private-sector for the remaining funding. An independent, Senate-confirmed authority would prioritize investments. That’s one element that’s sure to change, as the House and White House will want to be involved in project evaluation and selection.
The authority could provide the seed money for up to $600 billion in private infrastructure investments in its first decade.