This section reviews some basic elements of infrastructure finance and common terminology used by practitioners. Equity-conscious capital investment and equitable development plans can foster workforce development and business mobilization programs, support affordable housing, build community resources such as health clinics and gathering spaces, and create vital transportation links to jobs and schools.
Achieving long-term resilience requires rethinking the entire model of infrastructure performance, and the full lifecycle of the assets involved. Traditional capital planning and project development processes don’t always consider long-term resilience. Existing financial and capital planning models usually focus on delivering the capital project, not the outcome—the public service—that benefits the community. Infrastructure capital projects are supposed to be a means to an end—providing public services that benefit residents.
Urban infrastructure projects have often come at significant cost to low-income communities, particularly people of color. Equitable planning includes diverse voices and considers development’s impacts on all city residents. Infrastructure projects have great potential to increase the value of land and once completed, to improve the quality of life for those with access to the development. However, that very increase in value can also threaten the existing residents of the areas in which these projects are built.
Infrastructure finance is rapidly evolving. This section describes some possible future strategies to bring cost savings and wealth “back from the future.” With Energy Savings Agreements (ESAs) agencies are able to fund the capital costs of energy efficiency improvements through cost savings. These approaches directly securitize savings achieved through capital improvements.