Press Releases

Legislation Aims to Repair Public Buildings Needing Infrastructure Improvements

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) released the following statements after re-introducing the “Public Buildings Renewal Act.” The bill enables communities to establish public-private partnerships (P3s) for needed public infrastructure improvements, such as in schools or public universities, by creating $5 billion in new private activity bonds for public buildings.

“In the past, P3 investment has produced enormous benefits across the nation in the form of transportation and infrastructure improvements. I want to see the same results right here in the Silver State, especially for Nevada’s schools. Now is the time to use the success of P3s in the infrastructure industry as a financing model for Nevada's public buildings to repair cornerstones in our communities like public schools and libraries.  This commonsense idea helps our public schools and universities‎ do even more. By empowering the private sector to address these issues, innovation ensures these projects are completed in a more cost efficient manner,” said Senator Dean Heller.

 “This bill will help local governments build schools, libraries, fire stations and other public buildings that serve as the foundation of our communities,” said Senator Bill Nelson.

“Our country’s public buildings are in a historic state of disrepair and in need of a bold solution. That’s where the Public Buildings Renewal Act can come to the rescue. This legislation became more urgent than ever for me after I visited several of our district’s schools last year and saw the unacceptable damage up close. When public places like schools, hospitals, and court houses are allowed to crumble, the people they serve suffer, especially students. Our bill will channel a new stream of P3 financing into local communities for the ultimate goal of restoring public infrastructure from coast to cast. It will take advantage of private sector efficiency to create jobs and save taxpayer money by streamlining the delivery, design, and construction of these projects. I thank my colleagues in both chambers for supporting this commonsense solution and look forward to helping them advance it swiftly,” said Congressman Mike Kelly

“Congress has failed to display the political courage necessary to adequately invest in infrastructure—from roads and light rail to schools and courthouses. Our nation is literally falling apart and falling behind. We need an 'all of the above' approach to infrastructure funding, and simple fixes to lower investment barriers are steps in the right direction,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)

Background:

These newly created private activity bonds mentioned above would provide much-needed financing to cash-strapped states to construct government-owned buildings such as public schools, state colleges, post offices, libraries, prisons and courthouses. Currently, the use of P3s to deliver public buildings is extremely limited because unlike the transportation sector, public buildings are not eligible for private activity bonds. This inhibits public building P3s from combining tax exempt financing with private financing, resulting in an increased cost of financing. Nearly every U.S. transportation P3 project that has moved forward has utilized federal financing, 75% of which have accessed Private Activity Bonds.  Over $36 billion in transportation P3 projects have been undertaken since 2010 with a cost savings of nearly 20 percent for each project.

This bill will catalyze the use of P3s in public buildings just as PABs have for transportation.  By empowering the private sector to tackle these projects, the bill would make these projects more cost effective, stretching every public dollar further. Additionally, the bill is a fiscally conservative solution to overhauling these public projects with an estimated cost from JCT of less than $50 million over ten years.

The House companion bill is HR 960. 

Senator Heller was recently named Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure. This role will give him the ability to promote infrastructure projects in Nevada like Interstate 11.    

###
Pursuant to Senate Policy, petitions, opinion polls and unsolicited mass electronic communications cannot be initiated by this office for the 60-day period immediately before the date of a primary or general election. Subscribers currently receiving electronic communications from this office who wish to unsubscribe may do so here.