BONDS Act would assist local and state government finance projects to build and renovate schools, bridges, roads, hospitals

Washington (April 4, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environmental and Public Works Committee which has jurisdiction over bridges, highway construction and other public infrastructure, today introduced legislation to help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, create jobs in construction and spur economic growth. The Bolstering Our Nation’s Deficient Structures (BONDS) Act (S. 2203), will provide financing tools to state and local governments to help build bridges, roads, schools and other local critical infrastructure projects. The BONDS Act is patterned after the Build America Bonds program created in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Build America Bonds program was enormously successful, resulting in more than one hundred billion dollars of investment in public infrastructure across Massachusetts and around the nation. But the nation’s infrastructure remains badly in need of increased investment. For example, in Massachusetts almost half of the Commonwealth’s 5,000 bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

The BONDS Act would allow a state or local government to issue a bond to make a public investment while the federal government provides a subsidy to that state or local government to help pay the interest on the bond. Senator Markey’s legislation will revive the Build America Bonds program and make it permanent. Last year, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) introduced H.R. 789, the Build America Bonds Act, companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“The BONDS Act is simple: when we rebuild critical infrastructure we create jobs and strengthen our local communities,” said Senator Markey. “The BONDS Act is a win-win-win for cities, states and the entire country. It encourages investment in Massachusetts’ infrastructure backbone, will put workers back on the job and empowers states and cities to plan for long-term economic growth. Our construction workers are suffering from devastating unemployment levels that require immediate action, and the BONDS Act would put them back to work rebuilding our critical structures and rebuilding our economy. I thank Rep. Neal for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to get this important job-creating legislation passed.” 

“As a former mayor, I know how important infrastructure tools are to lowering costs and making it possible for state and local governments to build and renovate schools, bridges, roads and hospitals - and the Build America Bonds program is at the top of the list in terms of its success,” said Rep. Neal. “From the inception of the program in April 2009 to when it expired at the end of 2010, there were 2,275 separate BAB issues, which supported more than $181 billion of financing for new public capital infrastructure projects.  BABs were a huge success in Massachusetts; the state issued nearly $5 billion in BABs, helping finance the rehabilitation of bridges and roads, as well as rebuilding of our schools and communities. As a strong supporter of this program, and I am glad that Senator Markey is introducing legislation that would make the BABs program permanent, ensuring the continued focus of growing our economy through strategic investments in infrastructure.”

“We applaud Senator Markey for introducing this outstanding legislation to assist cities and towns in Massachusetts and across the nation,” said Geoffrey C. Beckwith, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. “In addition to protecting and safeguarding traditional tax-exempt municipal bonds, which will always be the centerpiece of local government financing, Senator Markey is offering communities an attractive and innovative financing tool to build and invest in schools, police and fire stations, roads, bridges, parks and other critical public infrastructure.  His bill is good news for communities, taxpayers and our economy.”

“When we strengthen our bridges and roads, we strengthen our economy and the families it supports,” said Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan. “As a mayor, I see firsthand how strong infrastructure attracts businesses and support economic growth. It also puts people to work on the projects that communities value every day. I applaud Senator Markey for joining Congressman Neal in pushing to reinvigorate this successful infrastructure investment program.” 

“We applaud Sen Markey for his leadership on this issue,” said Steve Tolman, president, Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “Creating good jobs while repairing our aging infrastructure is the kind of thing working people can get behind and benefit from.” 

“While the construction industry is beginning to rebound, unemployment is still at unacceptably high levels,” said Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO. “This coincides with the fact that our infrastructure is crumbling and badly in need of updating and repair.  Infrastructure investments at the federal, state and local level will address both problems – It will put our people back to work doing work that needs to be done.  These investments address our current employment issues and secure a better future for the larger Massachusetts’ economy. I thank Senator Markey for his leadership introducing this important legislation.”

A copy of the BONDS Act can be found HERE. A one-page summary of the legislation can he found HERE.