CNT Offers “Big Idea” on Innovative Ways to Finance Needed Infrastructure Improvements

Big-ideasCNT President Scott Bernstein has co-authored a “big idea” in the “Big Ideas for Jobs” policy brief released by the Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, part of the University of California-Berkeley. The brief and more details can be found at www.BigIdeasforJobs.org.

The essay by Bernstein and Center for Wisconsin Strategies Director Joel Rogers argues for finding new ways to invest public and private capital to fund much-needed infrastructure improvements that will create jobs while strengthening communities. The authors cite two case studies as models for public-private investment—the Los Angeles plan to finance and expand its transit service in 10 years over the typical 30 and the Energy Savers program in Chicago that provides a revolving low-interest loan fund for energy efficiency retrofits of multifamily apartment buildings.

The authors lay out three steps for how governments and institutions can leverage private investment for infrastructure upgrades:

  1. Provide capacity assessments and compensating technical assistance to local and state governments;
  2. Provide a federal risk-sharing partner that can attract private capital and federal and state relief from unreasonable rules that slow or prevent deals; and
  3. Support joint learning and advocacy among community and regional leaders, so they can more effectively partner with the federal government, business, and community in developing a national infrastructure strategy.

Stay tuned for more information from CNT on innovative ways to finance infrastructure that fosters sustainability, both economic and environmental.