Sunday, May 17, 2015

S 1209 Introduced – Pipeline Replacement Fund

Last week Sen. Markey (D,MA) introduced S 1209, the Pipeline Revolving Fund and Job Creation Act. The bill would authorize PHMSA to make grants to State revolving loan funds established for repairing or replacing natural gas distribution lines. This bill is very similar to two bills introduced in the 113th Congress; S 1768 and HR 4339. I have discussed the details in the post on S 1768. Neither bill was considered in committee in the last session.

Funds like this where the repayment of principle and interest on loans provides funds for subsequent loans are a means of taking a relatively small amount of current capital and leveraging it over a period of time. While the bill does authorize funding through 2026 it does not do so at any specific level. Without knowing how much funding will be available, it is hard to argue about the potential efficacy of the program.

Sen. Markey is a mid-ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. That is the committee to which this bill was forwarded for consideration, but it is unlikely that he has enough influence to bring the Committee to consider this bill. This is particularly true since he was not able to have the bill considered in the last session when the Democrats were in charge of the Committee.

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