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Funding Innovations for California Infrastructure: Promises and Pitfalls

Ellen Hanak and Kim Rueben
Sustained, rapid population growth and a variety of fiscal constraints have challenged the ability of California's state and local governments to provide and maintain adequate levels of civil infrastructure. The Governor has proposed a ten-year program to revitalize the state’s infrastructure. We examine the current state of infrastructure spending and the extent to which new public and private sources can be mobilized to build for the future. With a focus on two main areas of public infrastructure needs – transportation and water resources – we point out the pitfalls of relying too heavily on additional bond financing or general-source revenues and focus on the potential for strategies that align the benefits of new infrastructure with the costs of provision. By aligning costs and benefits, California can help satisfy its current and future infrastructure needs while protecting the ability of future generations to make their own spending choices.