WASHINGTON -- Congress could entice or even require the nation's nearly $4 trillion of pension funds to invest in tax-exempt municipal bonds to spur infrastructure development, but doing so would be costly and controversial, investment bankers told a congressional commission last week.

Their comments came as the Infrastructure Investment Commission, charged by Congress in last year's highway bill to make recommendations on expanding investment in infrastructure, launched a series of hearings focusing on such ideas as generating more pension fund interest in municipal bonds.

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