WASHINGTON -- The Rebuild America Coalition is drafing several infrastructure finance proposals it plans to submit to Congress early next year, Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson told Congress yesterday.
Although Mayor Jackson did not outline the specific proposals, other members of the infrastructure group have said the plans are expected to include several measures designed to ease some of the tax-exempt bond curbs imposed by the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
The infrastructure financing proposals "are undergoing final drafting and will be presented to Congress by the Rebuild America Coalition in 1992," Mayor Jackson said at a hearing of the House Government Operations Committee's legislation panel.
"The issue is no longer whether we should invest in infrastructure, but how we should pay for it," said Mayor Jackson, who is the chairman of the coalition. The group includes state and local government organizations, building industry groups, and the Public Securities Association.
"We will urge Congress to adopt strong incentives for private-sector investment in infrastructure and housing," said Mayor Jackson, who also was representing the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The financing proposals being considered by the coalition, according to the PSA, include:
* Easing curbs on theuse of tax-exempt bonds to finance projects that benefit private industry;
* Increasing the limit of bank-qualified bonds to between $20 million and $25 million from the current $10 million annual limit;
* Easing arbitrage restrictions;
* Increasing the funding and uses of federally capitalized state revolving loan funds;
* Creating a federal infrastructure bond bank.
"There is a fundamental link between America's economic competitivnes and its infrastructure investment," Mayor Jackson told the panel. The panel was holding the hearing to consider proposals to change last year's budget agreement to consolidate all discretionary federal spending in order to allow funds to be transferred from defense to domestic or international categories.
"I fully support any amendment to the budgetary system that allows transfer of discretionary spending which enables Congress to fund this great opportunity. The 'fire wall' which prevents a transfer of military savings into needed domestic discretinary spending must be removed." he said.
"We must not solely swap defense spending for tax cuts," Mayor Jackson cautioned. "These defense savings also must be reinvested in America to ensure the growth of America's economy and America's people. Investing in infrastructure is a win-win proposition for our great nation."