Two state officials pushing infrastructure bank in Rhode Island
Two high-ranking Rhode Island officials are pushing their plan to create jobs and save money. The proposal, brain child of Gov. Gina Raimondo and General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, is a new Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. It would be designed to save money by financing energy efficiency projects. Magaziner described the proposed infrastructure bank as a “game changer” for the state.
An agency in the state – the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency – already makes loans for infrastructure projects. The two state officials propose expanding the quasi-public agency into an infrastructure bank. The plan is part of Raimondo’s proposed budget she introduced last week and was part of her most recent gubernatorial campaign.
In the past, many infrastructure banks were built around construction projects that revolved around water, road and bridge projects. This proposal would create the bank as a go-between for financing environmentally friendly projects, including energy retrofits or installation of solar panels. Among the project types would be retrofitting existing municipal buildings, loaning money for stormwater projects for flood-prone businesses and brownfield projects. The governor said she would like to see money that is being split up among a number of agencies located in one pot. “We are pooling it together and inviting private capital to the table so it’s a one-stop shop,” she said.
The proposal would also create an Efficient Building Fund, allowing schools and municipalities to borrow money for energy efficiency projects for their buildings.
The Efficient Building Fund’s financing goal is for it to finance between $20 million and $25 million in projects over three years. And, finally, Raimondo’s new budget allocates $2 million to the infrastructure bank from the savings of proposed refinancing of some state bonds.
For updates on the progress of this proposal, as well as additional government news, contact our experts at SPI.