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In recent years the frequency and severity of heavy precipitation and floods in parts of the United States have been increasing to a statistically significant degree, and this trend is expected to worsen. This article summarizes some of the liability issues that result from floods, and efforts to control them. Under governmental liability, the author highlights multiple participating factors including sovereign immunity, structural measures, nonstructural measures, flood-related regulations, and land use regulations. Under private liability, the column points to issues regarding neighboring property owners, dams and other obstructions, overflow, insurance, utilities, and design professionals. Lastly, the author draws upon the Hurricane Katrina Case where the U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in an important case on flood liability.
The goal of this introductory implementation guide is to provide practical guidance for designing, implementing, and managing a green revolving fund (GRF) at a college, university, or other institution. The GRF model is widespread in higher education, with at least 79 funds in operation in North America representing over $111 million in committed investment as of late 2012. GRFs have proven their ability to reduce operating costs and environmental impact while promoting education and engaging stakeholders.
Municipal bonds are one financing tool well suited to close the U.S. infrastructure investment gap. The U.S. municipal bond market has funded large-scale, long-term capital-intensive projects in states and cities, as well as their operational expenses, since the beginning of the 1900s. The market is large, with investors today holding a total of $3.7 trillion of U.S. municipal debt. Different types of investors are attracted to the muni bond market, but individuals are the dominant investors, either directly as individual retail investors or through mutual funds, accounting for more than 70 percent of the market. This is largely because the vast majority of muni bonds are issued as tax-exempt instruments: of the $3.7 trillion in outstanding muni bonds, only approximately $600 billion are taxable. Because individuals tend to have significant tax liability, tax-exempt muni bonds are attractive investment opportunities. Some federal programs also offer additional subsidies to attract tax exempt investors, such as pension funds, to the U.S. muni bond market.
This paper offers a new approach for systematically linking catastrophe bonds and conventional project finance to support large-scale resilience projects. The following sections describe the RE.bound Program framework for catastrophe modeling, bond structuring, and bond sponsorship; summarize key insights and lessons for extending the approach to a range of resilience applications; and offer ideas for government and other public-interest entities seeking to build resilience and mitigate disaster risk.
Large public investments in transportation infrastructure-such as a new freeway interchange or transit station-can increase the value of adjacent private land, sometimes substantially. Capturing the value of this benefit through various tools is gaining interest as a finance mechanism for infrastructure investments. But many questions remain: Does "value capture" promote or hinder economic development? How does it affect different segments of society? Is the revenue substantial, stable, or predictable? How feasible is adoption and implementation? To answer these and other questions, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated funding to the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies in 2008 to study the public policy implications of value capture. No previous research has systematically compiled and analyzed the full gamut of policy tools that may be used for value capture. This document summarizes the findings from that study.
In early 2015, New Cities Foundation launched the Financing Urban Infrastructure Initiative to address critical infrastructure financing issues and challenges facing cities today. This handbook is the culmination of that initiative.
Gold plating is when we make changes to projects that are outside the scope of the original plan, resulting in increased time, expenses, and waste. Gold-plating presents barriers to accomplishing good urbanism in the form of initial financial costs that can completely block growth. A lean infrastructure approach to city planning focuses on smaller, incremental improvements instead of sweeping, inefficient upgrades. It prioritizes long term well-being, expandable and scalable projects, and building community competency and ownership of their neighborhoods. The document provides a theoretical and historical overview of infrastructure planning and lessons learned from past mistakes to help city planners move forward with a recommitment to designing workable solutions that support civilization in an economical and sustainable fashion.
The scope and severity of flood risk and flood-related damages in the Chatham community are among the worst in Cook County. At the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), our water program promotes practical changes in the way people manage water as a resource and changes that are good for residents, good for businesses, and good for the environment. Through programs like our RainReadySM℠ Initiative, we help homeowners and municipalities save money by installing green infrastructure solutions like rain gardens and bioswales for stormwater management. Much of our work is done to prevent and alleviate flood issues which includes community outreach and development of the RainReady Midlothian Plan and six community plans in Suburban Cook County, Illinois.
Over the past year, NRDC has been commissioned by the Ford Foundation to lead a cross-disciplinary research team to explore the challenges of generating more and better infrastructure investments to build 21st-century communities. Our work included a literature review, interviews with investors and city officials (including a close engagement in the cities of Denver and Los Angeles), and collaboration with national and international stakeholders through the White House\'s Build America Initiative and the Clinton Global Initiative America Infrastructure Working Group. We believe that the United States can no longer treat infrastructure like an ongoing crisis, but must approach it as an opportunity not to be missed. We have focused on cities because they often play a critical role in projects\' design, planning, construction, and financing. Our findings and lessons, however, apply to any level of local government.
The goBerkeley Pilot Program was launched in Downtown Berkeley, the Elmwood, and Southside/Telegraph in July 2013 with 3 overarching goals: to support economic vitality, to reduce congestion and emissions and to assess the feasibility of expanding the program beyond the 2-year pilot period. Council authorized the Pilot Program to test the extent to which a combination of free bus passes for employees, carshare discounts for businesses, and demand-based parking management could achieve these goals. The goBerkeley Pilot Program worked closely with businesses and residents, conducted visitors, resident and employee surveys, and collected transit usage and parking data before and during the pilot period. The program also tested automated parking data collection methods to ascertain the most accurate and cost-effective program design going forward.