The Rockefeller Foundation has announced that it will provide up to $3 million over two years for a new public-private initiative designed to help U.S. cities finance and build resilient, integrated urban storm water infrastructure systems.
Nearly three months after Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast, knocking out power lines and crippling major transit systems, the RE.invest Initiative will provide up to eight cities with seed funding and technical support to create new Community Investment Vehicles (CIVics) that can leverage hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment in local infrastructure projects. Developed in collaboration with c.dots development and CH2M Hill, the initiative has four primary objectives: lessening the financial burden of new infrastructure development by providing cities with direct technical and financial support; mobilizing large-scale long-term private investment through CIVics to protect communities; improving the resilience of vulnerable coastal cities with already overburdened infrastructure; and building integrated planning capacity at the municipal level.
"Using innovative sustainable infrastructure such as replacing concrete with porous pavement, restoring creeks and wetlands, and increasing tree cover can help cities manage storm water, often at a fraction of the cost of upgrading traditional concrete infrastructure," said Nancy Sutley, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, which coordinates environmental matters for the White House. "These projects can also save significant taxpayer money, beautify communities, and make them more attractive to businesses and investor and more resilient to extreme weather. As we focus on ensuring the federal government makes it easier for cities to build and invest in sustainable infrastructure, the RE.invest Initiative is a great example of how private organizations can forge creative partnerships that leverage private investment to support clean and healthy cities, and save taxpayer dollars."