Monday, May 27, 2024

Rep. Sewell introduces legislation to boost local infrastructure investment in Alabama

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U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, AL-07, on Tuesday, introduced the Local Infrastructure Financing Tools (LIFT) Act, a bill that would expand commonsense bond financing opportunities for local governments and nonprofits. This legislation would provide multiple flexible financing tools that meet the unique needs of communities across the country, including transportation, public health facilities, schools, and other infrastructure and economic development projects.  

“As America continues to work toward revitalizing our infrastructure, it remains critically important to find ways to offer financial sustainably to our local governments and nonprofits,” said Rep. Sewell. “That is why I am proud to reintroduce the LIFT Act today to provide our communities with tools to invest in a wide range of infrastructure projects. By restoring and expanding these proven tools, we can lower borrowing costs, bring additional investors to the table, and provide long-term, efficient financing for these critical investments across Alabama and the United States.”

Specifically, the LIFT Act would:

  • Authorize the use of American infrastructure bonds
  • Restore advance refunding of municipal bonds
  • Expand bank-qualified debt for small municipalities and nonprofits

“We applaud Congresswoman Sewell for her continued leadership on community finance issues,” said the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL). “Each of the three pillars of the LIFT Act supports affordable finance for all kinds of communities within Alabama and throughout the United States. Restoring tax-exempt advance refunding bonds would return a tried-and-true tool for issuers to reduce their borrowing costs. Updating the small issuer exemption would provide our small and rural communities with greater access to capital.”

“GFOA applauds the leadership of Congresswoman Sewell with the introduction of the LIFT Act,” said the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). “This legislation both enhances and restores critical infrastructure financing tools that help local public finance officials strengthen their communities. Restoring tax-exempt advanced refunding and expanding the small borrower exception are top priorities for our 24,000 members and with Congresswoman Sewell’s leadership, we look forward to advancing these issues through Congress.”

“The BDA applauds Rep. Sewell for the reintroduction of the LIFT Act,” said the Bond Dealers of America (BDA). “By raising the Bank Qualified Limit and reinstating tax-exempt advance refunding, this critical legislation makes capital more accessible and affordable for issuers, in turn creating more affordable infrastructure nationwide. We look forward to working with Rep. Sewell and her colleague in Congress to get this legislation across the finish line.”

“The United States faces a $91 billion water infrastructure funding gap, and about 96 percent of water infrastructure spending comes from the state or local level,” said the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA). “Communities need every tool at their disposal to affordably finance critical water infrastructure investments, and the LIFT Act would help this cause by reinstating the federal tax exemption on advance refunding bonds — allowing communities to take advantage of falling interest rates and helping ratepayer dollars stretch further. AMWA thanks Congresswoman Sewell for her leadership on this issue and we are proud to support her legislation.”

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Bill text is available here.

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