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senate Bill S. 268

Rebuild America: Spending $1 Trillion on Infrastructure Over Five Years

Argument in favor

America’s infrastructure has been neglected for far too long and this bill makes that development a priority. This spending package would be bigger and have a quicker impact than the 2009 stimulus.

Charmaine's Opinion
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07/25/2016
Yes! It is absolutely shameful that we are not keeping up with the times on this. It's what taxes should really go to first!
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Henry's Opinion
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07/25/2016
Highways and roads all over the country are in a state of disrepair. It is incredibly dangerous for drivers everywhere. We need to fix these roads.
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act-react's Opinion
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07/25/2016
Infrastructure improvements add jobs, boost the economy, and boost citizen morale (because it is one of the most tangible ways we can see our tax dollars being spent to our immediate benefit). I'm all for it.
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Argument opposed

More “shovel-ready” jobs that will probably never materialise to the level that the public is told they will. Even worse, there’s no way to pay for the $1 trillion in spending -- so the deficit may skyrocket unless they come up with a plan for that.

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07/25/2016
Motorists pay billions in gas taxes. We deserve better than the broken, Washington-centric transportation system in place now. Traffic congestion and a lack of mobility in cities and towns are getting worse. It is time for Washington to relinquish its role as an unnecessary middleman in state and local transportation management. Lawmakers should craft a plan that allows the Highway Trust Fund to live within its means, give the states and localities increased authority, and refocuses the highway program on only national priorities that benefit those paying the gas tax that funds the system.
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Delmar's Opinion
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07/25/2016
Why should we give money for our roads when the gas taxis suppose to take care of this!!! Also broadband is suppose to be covered by the billions we gave toward a bailout back in 2008-2009. Where did that money go? If the money was spent then why isn't everyone using gigabit speeds across America? Also there needs to be a investigation on this before anymore money is needed!!
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Kaloyan's Opinion
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07/25/2016
Yes, infrastructure is very prominent and distinguishes third world countries from first world countries. But I don't agree with excessive spending on our already developed infrastructure. There are many different sectors that would benefit from the funds that we are planning to invest in our infrastructure. Given the recent influx of terrorism and racial tension in our great nation and the violence it promulgates, I believe that we should utilize this trillion dollars on national security and counterterrorism groups because we have already seen how truly unprepared we are regarding attacks on innocent civilians.
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What is Senate Bill S. 268?

This bill would would authorize $1 trillion in funding for Highway Trust Fund for the fiscal years 2015 through 2019, in order to improve roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. It would also appropriate funds for water infrastructure projects, the National Park Service, and broadband programs. It would also establish a National Infrastructure Development Bank as a wholly-owned government corporation. The maximum federal share of funding provided to each project would be 50 percent, meaning states and local governments must match federal dollars.

Transportation infrastructure projects would receive a total of $103 billion in appropriations for each of the fiscal years 2015 through 2022. Among the types of projects funded under this bill through the Highway Trust Fund and the Department of Transportation are:

  • Intercity high-speed rail service;

  • Credit assistance for surface transportation projects of national and regional significance;

  • Airport improvement and noise compatibility projects at public-use airports;

  • The Federal Aviation Administration’s efforts to accelerate deployment of satellite technology to improve airport safety and capacity;

  • The TIGER Discretionary Grant Program that provides competitive grants for surface transportation projects.

Appropriations for water infrastructure projects would total $29 billion for each of the fiscal years between 2015 and 2019, and would be used to fund:

  • Capitalization grants to states provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to establish water pollution control revolving funds, and drinking water treatment revolving loan funds for water infrastructure projects that are ineligible for state revolving loan funds.

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), so it can carry out the pre-disaster hazard mitigation program for minor localized flood reduction projects and major flood risk reduction projects.

  • The Army Corps of Engineers for inland waterways projects, coastal harbors and channels, inland harbors, in addition to dams and levees.

The National Park Service would receive $3 billion for each of the fiscal years 2015 through 2019 in order to cover expenses related to management, operations, and maintenance.

Miscellaneous infrastructure projects would receive a total of $15 billion in each of the fiscal years 2015 - 2019. $10 billion of this total would go towards improving the electric grid, while the remaining $5 billion would fund projects to expand the availability of broadband services.

Impact

Infrastructure projects and those who would work on them, the Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the EPA, FEMA, the National Infrastructure Development Bank.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 268

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: According to this bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), this bill will ”create or maintain at least 13 million decent-paying jobs.” Sen. Sanders added that “these projects require equipment, supplies and services, and the hard-earned salaries from these jobs will be spent in countless restaurants, shops and other local businesses.”

The Hill points out that Sen. Sanders did not offer a funding mechanism for his proposal within the legislation, but it did observe that the introduction of this bill came while lawmakers were discussing an increase in the federal gas tax.

Other provisions of this bill include:

The National Infrastructure Investment Bank would be established as a wholly-owned government corporation would help fund and manage infrastructure projects. A total of $5 billion in appropriations would be authorized for the Bank for each of fiscal years from 2015 to 2019. The Bank’s Board of Directors would be responsible for evaluating the eligibility of projects for assistance, while monitoring and overseeing infrastructure projects. This bill authorizes the Board to:

  • Make senior and subordinated loans and purchase debt securities;

  • Issue and sell debt the bank’s debt securities;

  • Issue public benefit bonds and provide direct subsidies to infrastructure projects from the proceeds;

  • Make loan guarantees;

  • Borrow on the global capital market and lend to regional, state, local entities, and commercial banks to fund infrastructure projects;

  • Purchase, pool, and sell infrastructure-related loans.

All bonds issued by the Bank would be exempt from state or local government taxes, and all securities would be considered exempt securities by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Every project financed by the bank must comply with prevailing wage rate laws, buy American statutes, and requirements for domestic content.


Of Note: If the idea of spending a lot of federal money on projects to boost the economy and create jobs sounds familiar to you, that’s because it was attempted through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). That proposal authorized $831 billion in spending between 2009 and 2019, but was less focused and also allowed spending on healthcare and education.

Spending through the ARRA (also commonly known as the stimulus) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million between 2009 and 2013 according to the Congressional Budget Office. The American Enterprise Institute observed that at that range of job creation, between $4.1 million and $540,000 was spent to create each job.

President Obama found himself under scrutiny for the inefficiencies of the ARRA projects, after having said that he’d begin his first term ready “to start helping states and local governments with shovel-ready projects.”

After it became apparent that his plan hadn’t materialised to the extent that he’d hoped, the President joked that “shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected” at a meeting of his jobs council, and later admitted that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1762839)

AKA

Rebuild America Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to improve the infrastructure of the United States, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 27th, 2015
    Yes! It is absolutely shameful that we are not keeping up with the times on this. It's what taxes should really go to first!
    Like (27)
    Follow
    Share
    Motorists pay billions in gas taxes. We deserve better than the broken, Washington-centric transportation system in place now. Traffic congestion and a lack of mobility in cities and towns are getting worse. It is time for Washington to relinquish its role as an unnecessary middleman in state and local transportation management. Lawmakers should craft a plan that allows the Highway Trust Fund to live within its means, give the states and localities increased authority, and refocuses the highway program on only national priorities that benefit those paying the gas tax that funds the system.
    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
    Why should we give money for our roads when the gas taxis suppose to take care of this!!! Also broadband is suppose to be covered by the billions we gave toward a bailout back in 2008-2009. Where did that money go? If the money was spent then why isn't everyone using gigabit speeds across America? Also there needs to be a investigation on this before anymore money is needed!!
    Like (27)
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    Share
    This bill is a Socialist dream, but a fiscal nightmare! It needs to be broken up and include more specifics! As it stands, it is bound to add to the national DEBT and require a rise in TAXES! It calls for a lot of federal GRANTS, to which the warning "CAVEAT EMPTOR" always applies, IMO. The Hill points out that Sen. Sanders did not offer a funding mechanism for his proposal within the legislation, but it did observe that the introduction of this bill came while lawmakers were discussing an increase in the federal gas tax. http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/230866-sen-sanders-files-1t-infrastructure-bill And how many of you like this part of the bill: "The National Infrastructure Investment Bank would be established as a wholly-owned government corporation would help fund and manage infrastructure projects. A total of $5 billion in appropriations would be authorized for the Bank for each of fiscal years from 2015 to 2019. The Bank’s Board of Directors would be responsible for evaluating the eligibility of projects for assistance, while monitoring and overseeing infrastructure projects. This bill authorizes the Board to: * Make senior and subordinated loans and purchase debt securities;
 * Issue and sell debt the bank’s debt securities;
 * Issue public benefit bonds and provide direct subsidies to infrastructure projects from the proceeds;
 * Make loan guarantees;
 * Borrow on the global capital market and lend to regional, state, local entities, and commercial banks to fund infrastructure projects;
 * Purchase, pool, and sell infrastructure-related loans.
 All bonds issued by the Bank would be exempt from state or local government taxes, and all securities would be considered exempt securities by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Every project financed by the bank must comply with prevailing wage rate laws, buy [sic] American statutes, and requirements for domestic content. Compare Bernie's bill with the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. Originally for young men ages 18–23, it was eventually expanded to young men ages 17–28. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000; in nine years 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a small wage of $30 (about $547 in 2015) a month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families). Principal benefits of an individual's enrollment in the CCC included improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. The typical CCC enrollee was a U.S. citizen, unmarried, unemployed male, 18–25 years of age. Normally his family was on local relief. Each enrollee volunteered and, upon passing a physical exam and/or a period of conditioning, was required to serve a minimum six-month period with the option to serve as many as four periods, or up to two years, if employment outside the Corps was not possible. Enrollees worked 40 hours a week over five days, sometimes including Saturdays if poor weather dictated. In return they received $30 a month with a compulsory allotment $22–25 sent to a family dependant, as well as food, clothing, and medical care. Following the second Bonus Army march on Washington D.C., President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6129 (May 11, 1933) to amend the CCC program, to include work opportunities for veterans. Veteran qualifications differed from the junior enrollee; one needed to be certified by the Veterans Administration by application. They could be any age, and married or single as long as they were in need of work. Veterans were generally assigned to entire veteran camps. The CCC performed 300 possible types of work projects within ten approved general classifications: 1. Structural improvements: bridges, fire lookout towers, service buildings 2. Transportation: truck trails, minor roads, foot trails and airport landing fields 3. Erosion control: check dams, terracing and vegetable covering 4. Flood control: irrigation, drainage, dams, ditching, channel work, riprapping 5. Forest culture: planting trees and shrubs, timber stand improvement, seed collection, nursery work 6. Forest protection: fire prevention, fire pre-suppression, firefighting, insect and disease control 7. Landscape and recreation: public camp and picnic ground development, lake and pond site clearing and development 8. Range: stock driveways, elimination of predatory animals 9. Wildlife: stream improvement, fish stocking, food and cover planting 10. Miscellaneous: emergency work, surveys, mosquito control https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_Conservation_Corps Now back to Bernie's bill: It is not all bad. Heaven knows our AGING INFRASTRUCTURE needs improvements! One thing that concerns me is that it says nothing about PROTECTING OUR NATIONAL ELECTRICAL GRID AGAINST AN EMP ATTACK! I cannot emphasize strongly enough how stupid and suicidal it would be to not prepare for such an attack! Aging dams and bridges need to be taken care of, also! It does call for funding the Army Corps of Engineers for inland waterways projects, coastal harbors and channels, inland harbors, in addition to dams and levees; the pre-disaster hazard mitigation program for minor localized flood reduction projects and major flood risk reduction projects; and improving the electric grid.
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    Highways and roads all over the country are in a state of disrepair. It is incredibly dangerous for drivers everywhere. We need to fix these roads.
    Like (17)
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    Infrastructure improvements add jobs, boost the economy, and boost citizen morale (because it is one of the most tangible ways we can see our tax dollars being spent to our immediate benefit). I'm all for it.
    Like (16)
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    Yes, infrastructure is very prominent and distinguishes third world countries from first world countries. But I don't agree with excessive spending on our already developed infrastructure. There are many different sectors that would benefit from the funds that we are planning to invest in our infrastructure. Given the recent influx of terrorism and racial tension in our great nation and the violence it promulgates, I believe that we should utilize this trillion dollars on national security and counterterrorism groups because we have already seen how truly unprepared we are regarding attacks on innocent civilians.
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    Should be even more than that. We threw away much more on failed wars in the middle east. Let's fix our country instead of breaking others.
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    While a well known fact that our infrastructure requires funding, this bill is too broad, which has the earmarks of the ARRA of 2009. Do we ever learn from our mistakes? Any bill request should be focused on one effort/program and not permitted to include a section called various programs. Additionally, each bill should require a funding proposal. With all due respect to Bernie Sanders, we can no longer operate as if there is an endless pool of money.
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    Sure. Right. Because that last $1Trillion worked out so well. But didn't the DoT buy a few shovels? And let's sneak in the Infrastructure Development Bank to spend more taxpayers money. As of today, we have no Fed infrastructure money to put into the bank and any state wanting a bit of the Feds money needs to squeeze their tax payers in matching funds. The only states I can see this happen is Cali, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia and the New England states (also called Blue States). The Federal money pot is never empty when it can reach into the taxpayers pocket.
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    Our infrastructure is falling apart and we need to create domestic jobs!
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    What happened to the TARP shovel ready infrastructure projects we already paid for? How about turning the worst maintained parts of the Interstate system into Turnpikes that would hold onto their receipts for dedicated repairs now that we know the General Fund is unlikely to be lesuch purposes?
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    YES! YES! YES! We need this desperately. I live in a rural area where the roads are s disgrace but I really fear for my life every time I have to get on the Interstate to drive to into the city. The bridges are dangerously neglected. I recently had a friend who lives in Singapore come to visit. She thought the US was very quaint & old fashioned: she was struck by our poor roads & aging bridges and our complete lack of public transportation. I think a direct quote is,"I thought the US would be modern, like Europe but better. It reminds me of my parents description of the Soviet Union before they fled." We have allowed all our resources to go upward to enrich the wealthy for so long that we are creating our own decline from the world's most remarkable country to one that resembles an agng, dotty, relative who doesn't recognize that her mind is going.
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    I agree that our infrastructure is in desperate need of maintenance, but this bill is way too expensive (seeing as we already have a tax deficit), and it has too many things compiled into one bill. We could pay for it by cutting other unnecessary programs, but that won't happen. Until we get our financial situation figured out, my support for something like this is non-existent.
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    This effort is essential to the future of our nation; our infrastructure is crumbling. People may talk about the federal gas tax, but the sad thing is that the tax hasn't been adjusted for inflation in over a decade. This money will help us address concerns with our crumbling infrastructure and prevent disasters which will cost us billions in the future.
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    It's a shame we haven't been doing this already.
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    Our infrastructure doesn't just need repair, it needs to be completely revamped and modernized in order to compete effectively on a global scale. This is especially true when it comes to our rail system, airports, and our other basic infrastructure needs. There is no reason that the richest nation in the history of the world should have its infrastructure in the state that it is in today.
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    America needs to rebalance its budget like everyday people do. Our gov't has a spending problem and a shopping addiction, and the youngest generations will feel the pain of paying that back - sooner or later.
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    I live in jersey. I know a thing or two about shitty roads and bridges. SEND MONEY QUICK
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    The public would only see 30% of the investment... Give it to your local churches and community centers. Then you could see the real changes we've all be promised by our political leaders in Washington.
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