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June 19, 2024
PI Global Investments

Federal Reserve policy could hurt local infrastructure efforts

Aliquippa is the place where I grew up, attended school and raised my family. Eventually, it was the place that granted me the humbling opportunity to become mayor, a role I’ve served in for the last 12 years. 

It’s safe to say Aliquippa is a community I care about deeply. I want to reciprocate and give Aliquippa everything it has given me. As mayor, I will do everything I can to provide my constituents with a promising future. 

One of the key ways in which our community is able to grow is through the investment and development of infrastructure projects. Good schools, good roads, safe buildings and bridges are how we attract and keep a growing population and job-creating businesses.

The need for communities like ours to invest in infrastructure is why I have deep concerns about a new proposal from the Federal Reserve that could financially handcuff Aliquippa and prevent us, and similar small cities across the country, from breaking ground on much-needed projects. 

The Fed’s proposal would raise capital requirements for banks with the hope of creating greater financial stability among our nation’s largest banks. That proposal sounds good in theory, but in practice, it would have severe consequences for communities like Aliquippa. These regulations would force banks to significantly scale back lending options, particularly to borrowers that they perceive as riskier to their larger portfolio, which couldn’t come at a worse time. 

Thanks to the efforts of the Biden Administration, our nation is situated to undergo the most significant overhaul to its infrastructure since the construction of the Interstate Highway System under President Eisenhower. We have the opportunity to improve our nation’s infrastructure in ways we haven’t in nearly 70 years – but that chance could be squandered if the Fed passes a rule that freezes up credit, leaving developers with hardly any options from which they can borrow money for new infrastructure development. As the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s funding gets allocated, state and local governments would face higher costs when issuing municipal securities, which are used to fund government projects such as the building and upkeep of roads, schools, and other essential projects. 

We should be creating a financial environment that allows these historic investments to flourish, not only building critical new infrastructure, but resulting in economic growth through good paying jobs that result from those projects. Sadly, the Federal Reserve’s proposal would do the opposite, making it unclear as to whether quick access to credit and lending services will continue to be available. 

What’s really puzzling about the Fed’s proposal is its timing. Right now, our nation’s banks are the most resilient in the world thanks to actions taken by regulators and policymakers following the 2008 financial crisis. This resiliency was tested throughout the pandemic, and our financial system passed with flying color as the most institutionally important banks in our banking sector remained stable during unprecedented challenges. 

Now is not the time to ask communities like Aliquippa to potentially put their infrastructure projects on hold. To ensure that Aliquippa and others like us can continue to collaborate with banks and complete these crucial improvements on time, I urge a serious reconsideration of the Federal Reserve’s proposal. The well-being of our residents and the success of our ongoing projects are at stake, and thoughtful consideration is paramount in charting a course that fosters both economic stability and regulatory responsibility.

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