We’re facing an infrastructure crisis in this country. Many of our roads are crumbling, some of our bridges are unsafe, many schools are underfunded and our transit systems are aging and often overcrowded. Things are so bad that the American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the United States a D+ rating in terms of infrastructure.
With uncertainty in Congress over infrastructure investments, local governments must lead the way in finding solutions. They’re currently using municipal bonds to finance more than 75% of local infrastructure investments, even as the tax exempt status of munis continues to be threatened at the federal level – an issue that Neighborly has been working diligently on with Congress to help them understand the importance of our marketplace.
Munis are a crucial financing mechanism to begin to rebuild our infrastructure from the ground up. To do so, we’ll need to more deeply engage constituents in helping public officials strengthen and revitalize roadways, ports, tunnels and airports – which is where Neighborly comes in and where it wants to work with the industry to help protect this vital marketplace.
Neighborly has built an online platform that connects government to its constituents and, subsequently, democratizes access to the municipal bond market. We believe that individuals, if empowered, will invest in their states and communities – and we’re beginning to prove that in communities across the country.
Take Burlington, Vermont for example. The City needed to fund infrastructure improvements for rehabilitating bike paths and reinvesting in sidewalks, and Neighborly was there to help them get their own constituents involved. For the $5.14 million issuance, more than two-thirds of the bond orders were purchased by local residents. With Neighborly, this model for connecting constituents to specific infrastructure projects can be spread across the country.
I’ll be talking about infrastructure financing and Neighborly at the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Annual Conference, which gathers public finance professionals from across North America. Join me on May 24th, at 8:30am MDT for a session titled, “Infrastructure Financing: Current Issues.” I’ll be discussing how we can be localizing infrastructure financing and linking it with maintaining strong investor relationships.
You can also find a few others from the Neighborly team posted up throughout the conference at Booth 815. We’ll be around to answer questions about Neighborly and to help show you a demo of the platform.
The GFOA Annual Conference presents a unique opportunity for public finance professionals to share best practices, highlight innovative projects and discover new tools and technologies. We’re excited to share what we’ve been up to at Neighborly with GFOA attendees and we look forward to working together to promote financing mechanisms that continue to move this country forward.