Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, joined a coalition of senators in introducing legislation to establish a new infrastructure financing authority to help states and localities better leverage private funds to build and maintain the nation’s outdated infrastructure.

The Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment, or BRIDGE, Act helps to address the nation’s investment shortfall in maintaining and improving transportation network, water and wastewater systems and energy infrastructure. The legislation would provide additional financing tools for states and localities to create new jobs, while also increasing the nation’s economic competitiveness.

“Today, much of our infrastructure has aged, and we must make critical investments in highways, rail lines, public transit, ports and waterways and airports to ensure that goods can reach markets, employees can access jobs, and businesses are incentivized to invest in new production facilities here in the United States,” Coons said. “We also need support for our aging water and energy infrastructure, which is critical for public health and safety. The BRIDGE Act is a well-thought out bill that we need right now to help address these infrastructure concerns across our country.”

The BRIDGE Act is led by Blunt and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia. The act is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York; Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; Dean Heller, R-Nevada; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota; and Thom Tillis, D-North Carolina.

The U.S. currently spends nearly two percent of its GDP on infrastructure — about half what it did 50 years ago. By comparison, Europe spends about 5 percent, and China spends 9 percent of GDP on infrastructure.

For information on key provisions of the BRIDGE Act, visit bit.ly/2rzGA80.