Infrastructure costs are becoming an increasing burden on Montgomery County as we face the growing backlog of infrastructure needs. Due to poorly planned growth we have the highest percentage of overcrowded schools of any county in the state. The Metro is underfunded and we have ambitious plans for a Bus Rapid Transit System. Our roads are ever more congested and will need what mitigation measures we can apply.
Governments in the United States pay more for infrastructure than any other country, much as we pay more for medical care than other countries. Finding a way to cut these costs will be vital.
One way to achieve significant cost savings is by financing projects using a state or locally owned bank which can drastically reduce interest costs. The Bank of North Dakota makes loans for infrastructure at a 2% interest rate. Rates charged by private equity investors can double the cost of a project by the time the loan is paid off so the lower rates can save a significant amount of money. Additionally bank profits are returned to the state.
Legislation for public banks is actively being pursued in Washington State, Michigan, Arizona, Philadelphia, Santa Fe and elsewhere. Montgomery County should explore this possibility as well.