Resolution calling for National Infrastructure Bank introduced in Pa. House

H.R. 113 pushes Congress to establish NIB to revolutionize Pa. and nation’s infrastructure

HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Reps. Ed Neilson, Mary Jo Daley, Eddie Day Pashinski and Joe Ciresi announced the introduction of a resolution urging Congress to establish a National Infrastructure Bank to repair, enhance and revolutionize the country’s infrastructure while creating 25 million living-wage jobs. 

"Throughout my entire professional career, I have been deeply rooted in the labor sector," Neilson, D-Phila., said. "I know the value of those jobs to the people who work in them, and I know how vital those jobs are to our economy and the well-being of our communities. Right now, our commonwealth's infrastructure is in crisis. A National Infrastructure Bank would allow us to support various industries, create jobs and address the issue of our aging and deteriorating infrastructure." 

The NIB would be a separate institution from the Federal Budget, set up as a government-sponsored lending, deposit-money bank, and capitalized with existing treasuries held by the public sector – not new tax dollars. According to the Coalition for a National Infrastructure Bank, this process of using government-backed private capital to finance these most-needed projects has been successfully used to restore our country’s economic stability four times throughout the U.S. history. 

Legislation – H.R. 3339 – has been introduced in Congress to create this NIB but has not yet been voted on. In Pennsylvania, H.R. 113 – with Neilson as primary sponsor and Daley, Pashinski and Ciresi among the chief co-sponsors – calls on Congress to act. 

"As we're sadly seeing in national news right now, delays in infrastructure improvement can have devastating consequences,” Daley, D-Montgomery, said. “None of us wants to see this happen in Pennsylvania. Staying on top of infrastructure and ensuring our buildings, bridges, roads, railways, drinking water and schools are safe is such a critical and also meaningful goal. Supporting the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank is an easy and nonpartisan decision. This could revolutionize Pennsylvania without raising taxes. It would create jobs. And, most importantly, it would make our communities safer. I wholeheartedly support this." 

According to The American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. has trillions of dollars worth of immediate infrastructure needs for roads, bridges, drinking water, high-speed rail and the expansion of broadband access. H.R. 113 says that previous national infrastructure banks established by Congress were instrumental in financing roads, bridges, canals, roadways, schools, hospitals and power systems. It goes on to say that a NIB that partners with state and local governments can supply the needed financing to bring infrastructure to a state of good repair. 

“Building and repairing any kind of infrastructure is an American issue – not a political issue – and the NIB is an American policy – not a political policy,” Pashinski, D-Luzerne, said. “The NIB creates millions of good-paying jobs and is the best way to restore our reputation and superiority as a great country by providing a modern, efficient, healthy and safe system of transportation, education and communication for future generations of Pennsylvanians and Americans to come.” 

"Investing in infrastructure is not only a basic responsibility of government, but an imperative to be ready for the future," Ciresi, D-Montgomery, said. "We need the NIB to address a significant backlog of maintenance needs in everything from roads and bridges to water mains, and to create a modern, state-of-the-art infrastructure for the 21st century without needing to raise taxes – accommodating our growing population, creating jobs and driving innovation." 

H.R. 113 was introduced in early June with a bipartisan group of 48 co-sponsors. It was referred to the House Commerce Committee, where it awaits consideration.