What Value Does An Infrastructure Bank Provide?

As the concept of infrastructure banks gets increasingly bandied about (see Emanuel, Rahm and Obama, Barack), Aaron M. Renn examines what exactly they do for us that we can’t already do.

In these times of raging public debts and low revenues, infrastructure banks have been talked about as a path to facilitate significant improvements to our failing infrastructure, a path not provided by other funding tools. Renn looks at the logic behind such funding mechanisms and whether they are, in fact, too good to be true.

He bases his analysis on five supposed areas of value associated with infrastructure banks:

  1. They might raise funds in a debt constrained environment
  2. They might be a vehicle for pools of private funds to be invested in infrastructure
  3. They might limit public risk
  4. They might promote rational prioritization of investments
  5. They might circumvent costly public contracting rules

"Unfortunately, infrastructure banks are often presented as if they are "free money" to the public. I believe this greatly misrepresents the reality. Any money invested by the bank has to be paid back. An infrastructure bank seems to be just another fancy name for borrowing money. We should probably evaluate it just like we do debt."

Full Story: What Exactly Does an Infrastructure Bank Do For Us Anyway?

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95