Ten Options for Congress to Improve Infrastructure | Web version

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January 4, 2018

Transportation & Infrastructure

Ten Options for Congress to Improve Infrastructure

Chickamauga Lock and Dam, near Chattanooga, Tennessee

Mark Rankin/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Are massive spending increases necessary to fix our infrastructure? A new RAND report concludes that significant increases in federal spending to repair or build anew may do some good, but a ramp-up in spending alone will not fix what is broken in our approach to funding and financing public works—and not everything is broken.

So what can Congress do to better align policy and spending to public priorities? Researchers identify the policies that promote and deter investment and maintenance of U.S. transportation and water infrastructure.

The report lays out 10 potential options for Congress, including:

  1. Preserve the federal tax exemption on interest earned from municipal bonds for at least the next decade, but also Reinstate Build America Bonds (BABs) with taxable interest for a 10-year period and experiment with other financing alternatives.
  2. Support further state experimentation with approaches to mileage-based fee collection, with an eye toward transitioning to a new federal system that more effectively links revenue collection to highway use.
  3. Target longer-term new capital and renewal projects likely to produce significant national benefits.
  4. Prioritize maintenance of federal assets, such as mission-critical military bases, dams, levees, locks, national parks, and other vital federal infrastructure.

See the rest »

Read the research brief »

For questions or to discuss this work, please contact Laura Patton.

RAND Congressional Resources Staff

Jayme Fuglesten
Director, Office of Congressional Relations

Laura Patton
Legislative Analyst

RAND Office of Congressional Relations
(703) 413-1100, ext. 5395
www.rand.org/congress

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