Washington, D.C. – Expanding on a proposal first put forward in a column earlier this year, the Center for American Progress has released an in-depth report into how Congress can pair federal resources with state, local, and private sector dollars to modernize the nation’s aging infrastructure. Known as State Future Funds, this funding mechanism can provide states and cities with the capital they need to make low-carbon and resilient energy and transportation infrastructure improvements that guard against extreme weather events connected to climate change and help reduce carbon pollution.
State Future Funds would combine government and private resources to offer a host of public benefits, including improving public health and air quality, reducing traffic congestion and climate change risks, and increasing community access to good jobs, schools, and other valuable public services. Investments through State Future Funds would also help states comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which calls on states to reduce fossil fuel reliance and increase the use of clean energy resources.
“State and local governments—and communities—are on the front lines when it comes to coping with crumbling infrastructure, traffic congestion, air pollution, more extreme weather, and growing inequities,” said Cathleen Kelly, CAP Senior Fellow and author of the report. “Congress has the ability to provide state and local officials with a remedy to these pressing challenges. By creating State Future Funds, Congress can maximize resources from all levels of government and the private sector to build 21st century infrastructure, increase access to jobs and clean and reliable energy, and prepare our states and localities for the very real dangers posed by climate change.”
The report outlines how Congress can design State Future Funds to help states and localities support a wide range of low-carbon and resilient energy and transportation infrastructure projects. Those design features include a way for states to offer low-interest or interest-free loans and provide loan guarantees to support smart energy and transportation infrastructure projects and planning. The report also recommends that states develop State Future Fund investment plans through meaningful engagement with local leaders, the public, and private stakeholders, including low-income communities and American Indian tribes who are likely to be the most acutely affected communities in the event of extreme climate change related weather.
Each state would share the cost of these investments by contributing to their State Future Fund at least 20 percent of the annual capitalization grant made to the state. Each state would be required to invest at least 30 percent of its annual capitalization grant in low-income areas.
Click here to read “State Future Funds: Jumpstarting Investments in Low-Carbon and Resilient Energy and Transportation Infrastructure” By Cathleen Kelly
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