White Plains, NY —  The Westchester County Board of Legislators is throwing its support behind a proposal in Washington to create a National Infrastructure Bank.

The NIB, under consideration by the U.S. Congress, would be an independent, government-owned, depository and lending institution able to finance up to $4 trillion in nationwide infrastructure repairs and improvements without new federal debt or new taxes.

On Monday, February 8, the Board of Legislators unanimously passed a resolution in support of the NIB's creation. 

Legislator Catherine Borgia (D - Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill), chair of the Board's Budget and Appropriations Committee and lead sponsor of the resolution, said,  “In Westchester, we have worked diligently over the last four years to address the local needs of our road, parks, transportation, and other infrastructure. But the regional needs for rail, highway, air and water, broadband and other major investments are enormous, and that is true across the country. The estimated cost of bring our infrastructure up to date is $4.6 trillion. A National Infrastructure Bank is a fiscally sound way of financing investment at the scale we need to keep our region and our nation competitive in the 21st century."

Majority Leader MaryJane Shimsky (D - Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington), said, "A national bank to finance our infrastructure is not a new idea. It goes back to our first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton.  Franklin Roosevelt used the same approach to finance the infrastructure building that helped get us out of the Great Depression. Today, we face needs that are at least as great. This is an idea whose time has come again. I'm proud that we’re joining more than a dozen other city councils and county boards across the country in supporting it."

Legislator Vedat Gashi (D -New Castle, Somers, Yorktown), chair of the Board's Public Works & Transportation Committee said, "There is obviously enormous need to repair our existing infrastructure, but this also represents a tremendous opportunity to improve and modernize our infrastructure.  This is an attempt to address that challenge in a financially creative fashion, but one that is not unique in our history.  I'm excited about it and urge our partners in Washington to act.""

Thomas Carey, president, Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO, said, "I cannot thank our Westchester County Board of Legislators enough for adopting this very important resolution, especially Catherine Borgia and MaryJane Shimsky for taking the lead. This will be the fifth time that an infrastructure bank will be introduced at a critical time in our nation. Infrastructure is so much more than roads and bridges as many of us believe but also comprises our learning institutions, our hospitals, our waste water and water treatment plants, our power houses and clean and green energy initiatives whether it’s solar, offshore wind or the latest technology. This bill will not only help advance these projects but produce many well-paying jobs that are so imperative especially during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The National Infrastructure Bank Act of 2020 (HR6422) would create an NIB to provide loans to public and private entities for financing, developing, or operating eligible infrastructure projects. An eligible project would have to have a public sponsor as well as local, regional, or national significance.

The bill also establishes criteria and preferences for deciding whether to provide a loan, such as whether a project promotes job creation or provides environmental health benefits. In addition, projects that receive such a loan must pay all laborers and mechanics locally prevailing wages, and use only certain U.S.-produced construction materials unless a waiver is secured from the bank.