Legislation to permanently extend the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) has been introduced by three members of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

“I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of the New Markets Tax Credit in the 12th Congressional District,” said Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) in a statement. “Whether it is the financing of a new grocery store in a previously under-served area in Columbus, creating 46 full- and part-time jobs during the project’s first phase or the funding of a recreation and aquatic center in Muskingum County that supports nearly 70 jobs, this tax credit is a tool to help revitalize communities by not only putting people to work but by funding projects that are a community benefit.”

Reps. Richard  Neal (D-Mass.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) joined Tiberi in introducing the bill. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) plans to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.

The NMTC program received one additional $3.5 billion allocation round in the tax extenders legislation passed in December. Once this funding is awarded this year, the program has no more allocation authority unless it is extended by Congress.

Supporters have been seeking to make the program permanent.

The NMTC was established by Congress in 2000 to spur private investment in low-income communities.

Between 2003 and 2012, NMTC investments generated nearly $118 billion in economic activity, creating 744,267 jobs in low-income rural and urban communities, including 457,487 construction jobs and 286,781 full-time equivalent jobs in nearly every industry sector of the economy, according to an analysis by the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition last year.

The program has funded a wide range of real estate development and business activity. A recent project is Centennial Place/Fresh Food Factor in New Orleans. In addition to providing workforce housing, the development is home to a program that prepares and delivers nutritious meals for area public and charter schools.

Connect with Donna Kimura, deputy editor of Affordable Housing Finance, on Twitter @DKimura_AHF.