Convertible PABs

Here’s a quick sketch of a ‘Convertible PAB’ in context of TCJA bill, the Move America bills and political reality:

  • Keep or even reduce current PAB volume allocations – not expansion like Move America. So price tag is $39bn or less – even $10bn starts a market. Maybe expand scope of qualifying projects – but I don’t care about outcome here.
  • Include the Move America 4:1 conversion option for QIFs and the other MAIFC mechanics, more or less.
  • Cut out the Move America project-specific conversion credits altogether – using straight PAB is the only P3 option.
  • Add a feature that monetizes tax credits through withholding taxes – but for ‘qualified retirement funds’ only, and only those that are public or large-scale (e.g. labor) US pensions. So the whole credit conversion option is strictly public QIF-to-public-ish pensions. No Wall Street involvement needed.

Chances? This depends on how hard the PAB fight turns out to be. If GOP is determined to repeal altogether, then there’s no chance. Or if GOP just caves on PAB repeal without modifications, then again no chance.

But a fight in the middle is possible – GOP willing to keep (some) PAB volume as long as a level-playing field option for public infrastructure is included – then there’s a shot. Worth thinking about anyway – if only for setting-up infrastructure bill concepts re QIF loan program support.