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Bridge Bill Leverages Foreign Capital

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has proposed a bill to fix deteriorating roads and bridges using taxes and dividends from overseas corporations with shareholders in the U.S.

Paul (R-KY) introduced S.911, "A bill to establish an emergency transportation safety fund, and for other purposes," on Thursday (May 9) to create funding for emergency transportation projects.

The measure would provide funds for new construction and repair existing bridges and roads.

The projects would be funded by repatriating overseas capital back to the U.S. at a rate of 5 percent. The existing repatriation rate can be as high as 35 percent;  by reducing it, Paul contends, U.S. companies would have a greater incentive to bring funds back to the U.S.

emergency transportation bill

Sen. Rand Paul's proposed bill would use funds from overseas capital to repair emergency transportation projects, which would be prioritized by a list of criteria.

Some of the U.S.'s largest corporations, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, have amassed large profits outside the country and have pressed Congress and the Obama administration for a tax break to bring the money home, the New York Times reports.

Paul's bill would address that need while putting some of the money corporations save to public use.

No Increase to Debt

"While we are faced with a fiscal crisis, our nation also has critical infrastructure needs that demand immediate attention," Paul said in announcing the bill.

"The Emergency Transportation Safety Fund Act is a fiscally responsible approach by providing the necessary resources to rebuild and enhance America's infrastructure."

He also said that his bill would not increase the national debt.

"My plan will not only save our infrastructure from collapsing, but also encourage reinvestment here at home without increasing the debt," said Paul.

Prioritizing Projects

Amounts deposited into the Emergency Transportation Safety Fund are authorized "to be obligated to carry out, in priority order, the projects on the current list compiled by the Secretary."

Ran Paul

"My plan will not only save our infrastructure from collapsing, but also encourage reinvestment here at home without increasing debt," Paul said.

The list of projects and transportation priorities would be compiled by the Secretary of Transportation after consulting with a "representative sample" of state and local government transportation officials. The list will include prioritized emergency transportation projects to guide the allocation of funding.

The Secretary will have a list of criteria, and can establish additional criteria, to rank priorities by:

  • Whether the project is part of the interstate highway system;
  • Whether the project is a road or bridge that is closed for safety reasons;
  • The impact of the project on interstate commerce;
  • The volume of traffic affected by the project; and
  • The overall value of the project or entity.

If enacted, the Secratary would have 120 days to submit a report to Congress that includes a list of prioritized emergency projects and a description of the criteria used.

Additionally, the Secretary would have to provide quarterly updates, sending a copy to Congress and making a copy available to the public through the Department of Transportation's website.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Business matters; Department of Transportation (DOT); Government; Infrastructure; Laws and litigation; Roads/Highways

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