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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 20, 2015.
Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Act of 2015
This bill authorizes the Department of the Treasury to establish a regional infrastructure accelerator program to provide grants to regional infrastructure accelerators to establish and administer a process for developing the priorities of, and acquiring financing for, covered infrastructure projects.
A "regional infrastructure accelerator" is defined as a multi-jurisdictional organization dedicated to provide technical assistance, financing options, and resources for covered infrastructure projects within the represented jurisdictions. A "covered infrastructure project" is as an infrastructure project sponsored by a state, local, or regional public entity that involves the construction, consolidation, alteration, or repair of rail, bus, or public transportation facilities or equipment, highway facilities (including bridges and tunnels), airports, port or marine facilities and equipment, pipelines, inland waterways, intermodal facilities and equipment, water treatment and solid waste disposal facilities, storm water management systems, dams and levees, and facilities or equipment for energy transmission, distribution, or storage.
From applications received, Treasury shall select five regional infrastructure accelerators from geographically diverse regions to receive initial grants. A regional infrastructure accelerator shall use such a grant to:
assess regional approaches to advancing innovative investment in covered infrastructure projects; develop strategies for transparency in the analysis of such projects to ensure protection of the public interest, for the bundling of smaller scale and rural projects into a larger transaction for investment, and for reducing transaction costs; facilitate the creation of a catalog of covered infrastructure projects available for investment; and analyze and apply project procurement methods. Treasury shall review reports submitted by such accelerators and select four of them to receive subsequent grants. A selected accelerator may use such subsequent grant to make subgrants to public entities for covered infrastructure predevelopment costs, which may include project planning, feasibility studies, economic assessments, cost-benefit analyses, public benefit studies, design and engineering, financial planning, permitting, environmental review, assessment of the impacts on the area, workforce and wages and benefits, assessment of infrastructure vulnerability and resilience to the impacts of climate change and other risks, and public outreach and community engagement.