U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri is touring the St. Louis region today to promote a bill to set up special bond sales for a fund that state and local governments could use to rebuild roads, bridges and other public works projects.
Blunt, R-Mo., is among the chief sponsors of the bill, the “Partnership To Build America Act." It would encourage companies to bid on the bonds by allowing them to exclude some of their overseas profits from federal taxes.
The aim is to persuade businesses to bring back some of their overseas money, while also establishing a $50 billion American Infrastructure Fund to underwrite hundreds of billion of dollars in construction projects.
The program would create thousands of jobs, said Blunt during an interview at his first event, held Wednesday at the local headquarters of the Metropolitan Sewer District.
Blunt noted that the bipartisan backers include Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Blunt has been promoting the bond plan for some time. He said Wednesday that he has renewed optimism because the chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is particularly interested in the idea.
Blunt said his support of the proposal stems, in part, from his concern that the United States – and his home state, Missouri – is relying too much on infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, gas pipelines, that is aging and in need of replacement and repair.
Blunt explained, “I’m very convinced that we’re in a great place right where we live to take advantage of a lot of the things that are coming from the expansion of the Panama Canal, to world food needs. People all over the world are looking for a better way to get the products they want. We can be supplying all of that, but we can’t unless we have an infrastructure that works.”
At the same time, he added, “What we don’t want to do is get American businesses in the habit of leaving money in other countries and expanding there, if we can think of some ways to encourage them to get that money back here.”