By Eugene Gilligan
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced legislation to expand the tax-exempt private activity bond (PAB) program on 4 May.
The bill, known as the Move America Act of 2015, would give all 50 states the authority to provide up to USD 180bn in tax-exempt bonds over the next ten years. The bill would also provide states with up to USD 45bn in infrastructure tax credits over the same period.
Approximately USD 11bn of USD 15bn allocated to the PAB program for transportation projects has been used, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Wyden and Hoeven said that the bill has the support of industry groups such as the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA), the Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure (AIAI), and Laborers’ International Union of North America.
“Anything that expands the scope and the size of the PABs program is good for infrastructure development in the US,” said Marcus Lemon
, shareholder at Polsinelli and former Chief Counsel at the Federal Highway Administration.
Lemon said that the PABs program has become more popular over the years, and that demand will only increase as time goes on. He added that the bill would stand a greater chance of passage if it were part of a broader transportation bill since congressional leaders do not typically favor stand-alone legislation.
Lemon noted that an amendment to the FY16 budget introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt), which would have permitted USD 478 bn to be spent on infrastructure projects over the next six years, was defeated on 24 March.
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