Create Jobs, Improve Infrastructure, and Catalyze Investment with an Infrastructure Bank

Repairing and strengthening critical infrastructure is essential to driving economic growth, improving everyday lives and protecting ourselves in the face of a changing climate. A state “infrastructure bank” is a nimble lending agency that supports infrastructure projects, while sustaining itself by recouping funding from the economic benefits the projects create. Tried across the country, from California to South Carolina, infrastructure banks are a tested way to shore up levees, fix potholes, and expand economic opportunity.

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Frequently Asked Questions
What makes infrastructure banks effective?
I-banks can supplement other forms of funding and attract investment in infrastructure by international investors or pension funds that are not incentivized to purchase traditional municipal bonds. And because initial funding is repaid, infrastructure banks create a self-growing, revolving loan fund.
How will this drive infrastructure growth without increasing debt?
Many I-banks are seeded with initial federal or state grant funds and private investment. By selecting projects that will allow these funds to be repaid and used for future infrastructure projects, infrastructure banks are self-sustaining and encourage projects that drive local economic growth and result in no ongoing state debt.
Won’t these funds go to private sector projects that won’t benefit all communities?
Enabling legislation can set criteria for the type of projects I-banks can fund, including consideration of environmental issues, community impact, and ensuring that projects are built in rural, suburban or urban areas. It’s up to lawmakers to decide who and what is eligible.
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Civil Engineers
  • Businesses
  • Municipal and local leaders
  • Communities in need of infrastructure investment
  • None noted
Model Policy
This act shall be known as the STATE Infrastructure Bank Act
This bill establishes a STATE Infrastructure Bank to sustainably finance infrastructure projects and drive economic growth in STATE.

(a) It is the goal of STATE to create a financing entity structured with broad authority to issue bonds, provide guarantees, and leverage state, federal, and other funds to facilitate sustainable infrastructure investment and generate economic growth.

(b) Establishment. There is hereby established the STATE infrastructure bank.

(c) Powers and duties. The bank shall be responsible for monitoring and overseeing infrastructure projects, and shall establish criteria for determining project eligibility for financial assistance under this article and shall have the following powers:
-(i) to issue public bonds and provide direct subsidies to infrastructure projects;
-(ii) to borrow on the global capital market and lend to entities and commercial banks for funding infrastructure projects; and
-(iii) to purchase, pool and sell infrastructure-related loans and securities on such market.
-(iv) The bank shall have the power to request the assistance, on a reimbursable basis, of personnel from any state agencies with specific expertise not available from within the bank or elsewhere. The head of any state agency may assign, on a reimbursable basis, any personnel of such agency requested by the board and shall not unreasonably refuse the assistance of any personnel requested by the board.

(d) Projects — Eligibility criteria and assistance. Financial assistance shall be available from the bank if the applicant for such assistance has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the board that the project for which such assistance is being sought meets:
-(i) the requirements of this article; and
-(ii) any criteria established in accordance with this article by the Board.
-(iii) the bank shall conduct an analysis that takes into account the economic, environmental, social benefits and costs of each project under consideration for financial assistance, prioritizing projects that contribute to economic growth, lead to job creation and are of regional or local significance.
-(iv) the criteria established by the Board shall provide for the consideration of the following factors in considering eligibility for financial assistance:
–1. the means by which development of the infrastructure project under consideration is being financed, including: the terms and conditions and financial structure of the proposed financing; and the financial assumptions and projections on which the project is based.
–2. the likelihood that the provision of assistance by the bank will cause such development to proceed more promptly and with lower costs for financing than would be the case without such assistance.
–3. job creation, including workforce development for women and minorities, responsible employment practices, and quality job training opportunities.
–4. reduction in carbon emissions.
–5. reduction in surface and air traffic congestion.
–6. smart growth in urban areas.
–7. poverty and inequality reduction through targeted training and employment opportunities for low income workers.
–8. use of smart tolling, such as vehicle miles traveled, for highway, road, and bridge projects.
–9. public health benefits
–10. pollution reductions.
–11. environmental justice.
–12. expanded use of renewable energy, including, but not limited to hydroelectric, solar, wind and waste-to-energy.
–13. smart grid development
–14. energy efficient building, housing, school modernization and weatherization.
–15. improvement of public housing or other public spaces
–16. mobility improvements for residents.
–17. expansion or improvement of broadband and wireless services in underserved communities.
-(v) the Board shall conduct assessments of the above criteria with qualified personnel including from relevant state agencies.
-(vi) a fee may be charged for the review of any project proposal in such amount as may be considered appropriate by the executive committee to cover the cost of such review.
-(vii) any determination of the board to provide assistance to any project, and the manner in which such assistance is provided, including the terms, conditions, fees and charges shall be at the sole discretion of the board.
-(viii) the provision of assistance by the board in accordance with this article shall not be deemed to relieve any recipient of assistance or the related project of any obligation to obtain required, state, local and federal permit and approvals.
-(ix) an entity receiving assistance from the board shall make annual reports to the board on the use of any such assistance, criteria set forth in this section and a disclosure of all entities with a development, ownership or operational interest in a project assisted or proposed to be assisted by the bank.
-(x) To carry out the purposes of the bank, the bank shall establish disclosure and application procedures for entities nominating projects for assistance; accept, for consideration, project proposals relating to the development of infrastructure projects, which meet the basic criteria established by the board, and which are submitted by an entity; provide recommendations to the board and place accepted project proposals on the list for consideration for financial assistance from the board; provide technical assistance to entities receiving financing from the bank and otherwise implement decisions of the board.

(e) All notes, debentures, bonds or other such obligations issued by the bank, and the interest on or credits with respect to such bonds or other obligations, shall not be subject to taxation by any state, county, municipality or local taxing authority.

(f) The bank shall comply with all federal and state laws regulating budgetary and auditing and ethics practices of a government corporation.

(g) Bonds issued by the bank do not constitute a debt or a pledge of the full faith and credit of STATE, or any of its political subdivisions other than the bank, but are payable solely from the revenue, money, or property of the bank as provided in this chapter. The bonds issued do not constitute an indebtedness of STATE within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory limitation. No member of the bank or any person executing bonds of the bank is liable personally on the bonds by reason of their issuance or execution. Each bond issued under this article must contain on its face a statement to the effect that: “neither the State, nor any of its political subdivisions, nor the bank is obligated to pay the principal of or interest on the bond or other costs incident to the bond except from the revenue, money, or property of the bank pledged; neither the full faith and credit nor the taxing power of the State, or any of its political subdivisions, is pledged to the payment of the principal of or interest on the bond; the bank does not have taxing power.”

(h) The board shall submit to the governor and legislature, within ninety days after the last day of each fiscal year, a complete and detailed report with respect to the preceding fiscal year.

(i) Board of directors.
-(i) The bank shall have a board of directors consisting of five members representing different regions of STATE to be appointed by the governor from a list agreed to by both chambers of the legislature as follows: two members shall have public sector experience; and three members shall have private sector experience. Directors shall serve staggered six year terms.
-(ii) Initial appointments by the governor shall be made not later than sixty days after the effective date of this article.
-(iii) No director may participate in any review or decision affecting a project under consideration for assistance under this article if the director has, or is affiliated with any person who has, an interest in such project.
-(iv) the board shall meet not later than ninety days after the date on which all of the directors of the board are first appointed and other-wise at the call of the chairperson.
-(v) the chairperson of the board, executive director, shall appoint, remove, fix the compensation of and define the duties of such qualified personnel to serve under the board, including a chief risk officer, chief compliance officer, executive committee, risk management committee or audit committee.
-(vi) the board shall have an executive committee consisting of nine members, headed by the executive director of the bank. A majority of the board shall have the authority to appoint and reappoint the executive director.
-(vii) the executive director shall be the chief executive officer of the bank, with such executive functions, powers and duties as may be prescribed by this article, the bylaws of the bank or the board.
-(viii) the executive director and other executive officers shall have demonstrated experience and expertise in one or more of the following:
–(a) transportation infrastructure.
–(b) environmental infrastructure.
–(c) energy infrastructure.
–(d) telecommunications infrastructure.
–(e) economic development.
–(f) workforce development.
–(g) public health.
–(h) private or public finance.
-(ix) The executive officers shall not: (a) hold any other public office; (b) have any interest in an infrastructure project considered by the Board; (c) have any interest in an investment institution, commercial bank or other entity seeking financial assistance for any infrastructure project from the bank; and (d) have any such interest during the two year period beginning on the date such officer ceases to serve in such capacity.

(j) Appropriation. Infrastructure banks can be seeded with state funds, existing or new federal or state grant funds or other funding. Please call The State Line at 1-833-STATES-1 to discuss potential approaches in your state.