Infrastructure bond issues and regional infrastructure banks

July 1, 2011 | By | Reply More

Missouri’s Department of Transportation (MoDoT) is laying off employees, closing facilities and selling some of its assets to make another over $500 million available for project funds for Missouri transportation by 2013. Additional federal funds for economic infrastructure are unlikely as part of any renewed efforts at economic stimulus. Some suggest that overseas corporate profits could fund an infrastructure bank.

Despite the current economic situation states can use their own efforts to provide additional infrastructure funding in addition to making their state departments of transportation more lean and efficient. Perhaps groups of states may even establish regional infrastructure banks for the states to fund educational and economic infrastructure projects.  To the degree other financial incentives may be necessary to retaining present businesses and assuring the location of new businesses in a state, bond issues for economic and infrastructure development could be put to a vote of the people.

Missouri had a vote for educational infrastructure under our late Governor Mel Carnahan when the governor supported a constitutional amendment to issue bonds for some $660 million for education. Missouri voters overwhelmingly supported the bond issue and our schools and state are better for it. California did this with a $10 billion investment in life sciences research. States may look at what was done in Missouri, California and elsewhere to see what worked and build upon it.

Perhaps public-private partnerships could be created for the funding and building of states’ economic and educational infrastructures. US treasury officials can meet with venture capitalists and hedge fund managers on the issue of public-private partnerships to finance public works right now.

Projected reductions of the costs of capital and making funds available for development has to make Missouri and other participating states more favored locations for building new or refurbishing existing manufacturing plants and creating the good paying jobs of the manufacturing sector in the automotive industry and beyond. The various state offices of economic development could research areas of the world where there are non-tariff trade barriers to the export of goods and target incentives to manufacturers to build in their states’ goods which meet or exceed the requirements of trade barriers for export to those countries.

Priorities established by the voters may enforce the urgency and necessity of efforts to develop educational and economic infrastructures. A vigorous debate before any votes will allow us all to more fully understand our commitments to our children, their education and to the future development of our states. In the debate, states will also be setting a precedent for all America to educate well, take care of our own and justly plan for the future prosperity of ourselves and our children.

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Category: Politics

About the Author ()

imothy E. Hogan is a trial attorney, a husband, a father of two awesome children and a practicing Roman Catholic in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hogan has done legal and political work in Jefferson City, Missouri for partisan and non-partisan social change, environmental and consumer protection groups. Mr. Hogan has also worked for consumer advocate Ralph Nader in Washington, DC and the members of the trial bar in the State of New York. Mr. Hogan’s current interests involve remaining a full time solo practitioner pioneer on the frontiers of justice in America, a good husband and a good father to his awesome children.

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