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Policy Statement 532 - National Infrastructure Bank

 

Approved by the Transportation Policy Committee on December 5, 2018
Approved by the Energy, Environment, and Water Policy Committee on February 12, 2019
Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on March 14, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019

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, environmental, energy, telecommunications and SMART Cities infrastructure, and public facilities projects.  

The National Infrastructure Bank:

  • Should be capitalized initially by general fund appropriations and should be self-sustaining after an 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;
  • Should not replace existing infrastructure funding and financing mechanisms, but act as a supplement to leverage additional federal, state, local, and private infrastructure financing;
  • Should support projects that are resilient and sustainable; and
  • Should provide project preparation and technical assistance to ensure well-structured, viable projects. 

Issue

Decades of underfunding and inattention have jeopardized the ability of our nation's infrastructure to support our economy and facilitate improved quality of life. In its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, ASCE assigned a cumulative grade of D+ to the nation's infrastructure and noted an investment need of $4.6 trillion by 2025 from all levels of government and the private sector. Between 2013 and 2017 there has been minimal 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. 

Legacy systems of funding that draw upon federal taxes and trust funds have proven inconsistent and inadequate. Private sector mechanisms such as public-private partnerships are an important tool but cannot alone fill the gaps. 

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.

ASCE Policy Statement 532
First Approved 2010

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