There is political consensus around the need to renew and rebuild America’s infrastructure, and President Trump has identified this as a goal. But America lacks both the funding and the governance mechanisms to meet the challenges. The proposed new approach of creating Urban and Rural Public Finance Authorities provides a path to creating a market with sustained “deal flow” for large-scale private-sector funding of infrastructure and economic development that can assist this effort. It creates a national program by relying on public and private stakeholders at the local, regional, state and interstate levels to bring to financially and politically viable projects made possible by governance structures and funding streams that bring organizations together in partnerships.
Federal resources, programs and assets are used to incentivize and create these partnerships for infrastructure and economic investments to assist in meeting the needs of the nation. A (new partnership and funding streams, (developed by the proposals in this paper) among federal, state and local governments and business creates the marketplace. Even more important, the increase in economic activity and the improvements in the nation’s competitive advantage gained by reinvigorating and enhancing the supply chain regions (a combination of rural and urban states explained below), could regenerate the nation’s economy and alter the growth rate of the country.
The economic benefits of creating urban and rural Public Finance Authorities will emerge by engaging the key commercial interests, at the local, regional, and state level, in choosing projects linked to business and employment in their region. The process of setting priorities through a more open, locally-driven process will reduce the project approval and implementation times by identifying key issues and finding solutions across the communities early in the process. Finally, the locally driven process provides a path in which there is more civic engagement tailored to the needs of communities, rather than a reliance on the Federal level to drive the design and funding of projects.
Public Finance Authorities (PFAs) are authorities created by state or local agencies- cities, counties, special purpose districts, that create unified funding structures. They are financial and accountability governmental entities and not operating entities. If implemented throughout the nation, PFAs can assist in funding the needed infrastructure and economic development investments that have a public purpose and the environmental mitigation needed to support the economic growth in both urban and rural regions of the nation. Funding Streams generated by those who benefit from these investments are bundled and coupled with existing federal programs, using availability payments structures, pay the financiers of these investments (private and public) though innovative financing and procurement programs, are the essence of this program.