While municipal bonds will continue to be the central option for how local infrastructure in financed, local governments are using a combination of traditional and alternative approaches to finance their public infrastructure investments.

According to a new white paper, “Infrastructure Financing: A Guide for Local Government Managers,” issued by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), alternative financing sources, properly selected and managed, can complement traditional sources to meet infrastructure needs. Tapping these sources not only leverages new resources, but also can make it possible to complete certain projects more quickly.

Local governments across the United States are facing a serious infrastructure deficit and are exploring new ways to finance needed expansions, upgrades, and repairs. Despite the fact that eroding infrastructure is seen as one of the most urgent issues facing the country, in 2012, infrastructure funding was at its lowest percentage of total local government expenditures in more than 50 years.

Prepared by Drs. Can Chen of Florida International University and John R. Bartle of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the white paper explores how local governments are addressing the challenge of bridging infrastructure financing gaps. In this context, they:

  1. Describe the full range of infrastructure financing methods currently in use,
  2. Document emerging methods in local infrastructure financing,
  3. Illustrate cases where local governments have explored alternative methods of infrastructure financing, and
  4. Offer recommendations for local government managers who are considering the use of alternative infrastructure financing options.

To download a copy of “Infrastructure Financing: A Guide for Local Government Managers,” click here.