President Obama recently announced the Rebuild America Partnership plan (RAPP), a bipartisan effort focused on rebuilding the nation’s aging infrastructure and driving economic growth. Through RAPP, the President proposes to restructure existing programs and introduce new policies aimed at fostering the use of public-private partnerships to finance critical infrastructure upgrades.
RAPP calls for Congress to establish and fund a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) with $10 billion to help leverage private capital. NIB would operate as an independent, wholly owned government entity that would issue loans and loan guarantees for eligible transportation, water, and energy infrastructure projects.
RAPP also recommends changes to certain limitations in the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA). These changes would assist the efforts of the President’s proposed America Fast Forward Bonds (AFFB) program to attract new investors, including public pension funds and foreign investors.
RAPP also increases funding levels for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) programs by $4 billion and aims to provide new grant and loan funding for state and local infrastructure projects across the country.
In his announcement of RAPP, the President noted that despite major investments in infrastructure over the past four years, “We still have too many ports that aren’t equipped for today’s world commerce. We’ve still got too many rail lines that are too slow and clogged up. We’ve still got too many roads that are in disrepair, too many bridges that aren’t safe.” The introduction of RAPP, with its emphasis on stimulating the investment of private capital and encouraging new partnerships, signals the administration’s interest in addressing years of deferred maintenance.
According to the President, RAPP has the potential to spur economic recovery and growth across the nation. The program promises to create thousands of new jobs; make the nation’s roads, bridges, and ports safer; and position U.S. workers and businesses to compete in the global economy.