More mega projects turning to private investors
CHICAGO (AP) -- Cities and school districts struggling with budget problems are increasingly considering private investment funds as a way of fixing up crumbling infrastructure.
Under the arrangement, financial institutions are invited put up money to build roads, renovate schools or modernize public buildings. The investors then receive steady returns from tolls, fees or tax payments. The city of Chicago recently approved a $1.7 billion fund with five institutions to pay for making 100 buildings energy efficient as well as other projects.
Some urban experts see the private funds as a solution to many cities' fiscal woes. But some community groups worry about putting public infrastructure under private control. In some cases, they fear, private investors will be able to raise tolls or reduce services in neighborhoods based on profitability.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)