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Policy Statement 532 - National Infrastructure Bank

Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on March 21, 2013
Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 21, 2013
Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee on March 21, 2013
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 4, 2013
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 12, 2013


Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports the creation and operation of a National Infrastructure Bank. Such a bank would leverage public funds and private dollars to invest in infrastructure - transportation, water resources, environment, energy, telecommunications, and public facilities projects.  

The National Infrastructure Bank:

  • Should be capitalized initially by general fund appropriations and should be self-sustaining after the initial start-up period;  
  • Should develop financing packages for selected projects which could include direct subsidies, direct loan guarantees, long-term tax-credit general purpose bonds, and long-term tax-credit infrastructure project specific bonds; and
  • Should not replace existing infrastructure funding and financing mechanisms, but act as a supplement to leverage federal, state, local, and private infrastructure financing.

Issue

Decades of underfunding and inattention have jeopardized the ability of our nation's infrastructure to support our economy and facilitate our way of life.   In its 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, ASCE assigned a cumulative grade of D+ to the nation's infrastructure and noted an investment need of $3.6 trillion by 2020 from all levels of government and the private sector.  Between 2009 and 2013 there has been little change in the condition of the nation's roads, bridges, drinking water systems and other public works, and the cost of improvement has increased by more than a trillion dollars.
 
Rationale

ASCE is concerned with the accelerated deterioration of America's infrastructure, with the general reduction in investment for the preservation and enhancement of our quality of life, and with the maintenance of U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace.  As the representative of the profession most responsible for the built environment, ASCE must be a voice in the national debate on infrastructure.  ASCE has and will continue to support innovative financing programs that not only make resources readily available, but also encourage the most effective and efficient use of those resources.  

Financing alternatives can not replace a public commitment to funding.  Financing by any technique does not supplant the need for adequate user fees or other funding sources to eventually pay for projects.

The other ASCE policies that relate to innovative financing are:

  • PS 382 Transportation Funding
  • PS 562 Public-Private Partnerships
  • PS 434 Transportation Trust Funds
  • PS 496 Innovative Financing for Transportation Projects


ASCE Policy Statement 532
First Approved 2010