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Delaware Senate Democrats

Delaware Senate urges Congress to create National Infrastructure Bank

January 27, 2022

DOVER – The State Senate on Thursday passed a resolution urging Delaware’s Congressional delegation and President Joe Biden to support federal legislation that would create a National Infrastructure Bank to repair and expand the country’s infrastructure while creating 25 million living-wage jobs.

“It’s no secret that America’s vital infrastructure is crumbling faster than we are currently funding their upkeep and repair,” said Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, prime sponsor of Senate Resolution 25.

“President Biden’s $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, signed into law in November is a great start,” he said. “But states across the country still need a reliable, long-term source of funding to cover the remaining $5 trillion needed to bring our nation’s roads, bridges and rail service into good standing and provide the kind of high-speed rail, universal broadband access, affordable housing and renewable energy grid we need to remain competitive in the 21st Century. And in doing so, we could create millions of good-paying jobs to improve our communities.”

First proposed by Democrat Christopher Dodd and Republican Chuck Hagel in 2007, a government-sponsored National Infrastructure Bank would leverage one-time federal funding and ongoing private investment to provide that dedicated funding through low-interest loans without significantly increasing taxes or the federal deficit, Ennis said.

Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both endorsed the concept of a National Infrastructure Bank during their time in office.

H.R. 3339, sponsored by Illinois Democrat Rep. Danny Davis in May, H.R. 3339 is the latest iteration of federal legislation to create an NIB. Introduced in May, it has yet to receive a vote, despite being endorsed the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, more than 20 labor unions, and nearly 30 city councils and county boards across the country.

Resolutions supporting H.R. 3339 have also been passed by at least eight state legislatures and introduced in 16 others, according to the Coalition for the National Infrastructure Bank

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, more than $2.5 trillion of the United States’ infrastructure needs are currently unfunded, while the remainder is inadequately funded.

The Delaware General Assembly’s Joint Capital Improvement Committee has attempted to close the gap by passing record-breaking funding for infrastructure improvements in two of the last three years, including a $1.3 billion capital spending plan approved last year.

Yet, 63 of 83 dams in the First State are still rated as having high-hazard potential, 16% of Delaware roadways are in poor condition, 28 bridges are rated as structurally deficient, the capital expenditure gap for public schools is $102 million, and the total drinking-water and wastewater infrastructure need exceeds $1 billion, according to ASCE.

“From the founding of this country to the Transcontinental Railroad to the New Deal to the war effort during World War II, national infrastructure banks have played a central role in America’s greatest periods of growth and prosperity,” Sen. Ennis said. “Now more than ever we need a funding system that’s removed from politics, separate from the federal budget and grounded in restoring our country to greatness.”