Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to come before the House today to introduce legislation with my Republican Ways & Means colleague, JIM GERLACH, that would permanently exempt tax-exempt private activity bonds from the alternative minimum tax. This bill will help spur additional transportation infrastructure investments, reduce borrowing costs for students and create jobs and economic growth.
In 2009, we enacted a two-year AMT exemption that expired at the end of 2010. This provision was extremely successful. From January 2009 to the end of 2010, thanks to this provision, the airport industry sold an unprecedented $12.7 billion in private activity bonds that were exempt from the AMT, allowing construction projects to flourish and jobs to be created at airports across the country. And I think it's telling that in 2011, after the provision expired, airport issuances fell to $4.3 billion, which is the lowest amount since 2007.
This exemption also is critical to reducing borrowing cost for students around the country. In Massachusetts, the 2009 PAB-AMT relief resulted in almost 20,000 students receiving low-cost financing for their education. The average student in Massachusetts borrowing $16,000 for his or her education saved $1,100 in interest over the life of the loan.
Mr. Speaker, we've seen amazing results by exempting PABs from the AMT and I encourage my colleagues to support this important bill and make this exemption permanent.