Infrastructure policy discussions regularly highlight the need for new projects like wider highways and new transit lines.
Hurricane Harvey’s impacts have been “unprecedented” and “beyond anything experienced,” to use the words of the National Weather Service. However, the aftermath of this hurricane, as with any other major disaster, is heart-wrenchingly predictable.
Poverty is expensive—not just for people, but for places, too. While cash-strapped cities face a number of challenges, aging infrastructure is perhaps the costliest.
Calls for new infrastructure investment typically focus on bridges and potholes. Rarely do politicians pay attention to water infrastructure, despite the clear economic benefits of doing so. Only when situations reach crisis proportions, like in Flint, MI, does the history of deferred water investment make headlines.
One way for cash-strapped local governments to increase both protection and insurance against disasters is through a new financial tool called resilience bonds. In a new report, my co-author James Rhodes and I lay out how these would work.