Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has introduced legislation to create a federal infrastructure bank that he says will be different from other proposals to set up public-works financing entities .
Kerry announced the proposal at a March 15 press conference. Standing with him were Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue and AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka.
Kerry formally introduced his bill on March 17. Its initial co-sponsors are Hutchison, Warner and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Having support from two Republicans is an obvious plus for the measure. Read a summary of the bill's provisions here. (The text wasn't immediately available in the Congressional Record.)
The bill would fund projects in the transportation, water and energy sectors.
Initial federal funding would be $10 billion. Kerry said that could leverage private and other nonfederal investment of up to $640 billion over 10 years.
The Obama administration proposed an infrastructure bank in its fiscal 2012 budget, but it would only fund transportation projects. The administration requested $30 billion for that bank over six years.
The Obama bank would provide grants as well as loans. Kerry's bank would have no grants, but provide only loans and loan guarantees.
Kerry is a member of the Finance and Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees.