Addressing New York City's Infrastructure Crisis
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As New York City and London continue to experience significant population growth, politicians, planners, businesses, and residents question how these cities can absorb growth while maintaining the daily functioning of aging and — at times — poorly maintained infrastructure systems. Coming out of the Great Recession, many localities are being asked to do more with less funding at all levels of government, yet at the same time these cities are asked to innovate. In the fall of 2014, I travelled to London as an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow with The German Marshall Fund of the United States to explore the creation and implementation of a new infrastructure funding mechanism called the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Through my research, I met with numerous stakeholders with varying opinions of CIL, including representatives from the London government, the development community, and transportation, infrastructure, and housing planners.
An analysis of the evidence gleaned from this case study suggests that CIL has proven to be a vital infrastructure funding mechanism at various levels of government in London. However, its success has been undermined by yearly changes and adjustments to the regulations since the law was implemented. Ultimately, this report concludes that while CIL is not directly transferrable to New York City, largely due to differing political landscapes and governance structures between each city, there are key lessons learned from CIL that can be applied to the New York City context. City governments should seek to take advantage of land value, and both public and private sectors should share in the burden of paying for critical infrastructure. As the City of New York prepares to welcome half a million more residents by 2040, it is vital to invest in critical infrastructure to maintain a vibrant and dynamic city that can readily accommodate current residents while planning for a significant influx of new residents and businesses.