BondLink is excited to celebrate the sixth annual National Infrastructure Week. It truly is #TimetoBuild.
We’ve written more than once on our disappointment in the so-called infrastructure deal unveiled by the Administration earlier this year. That proposal lacked substance, lacked speed and lacked scale – three things that a true infrastructure plan needs to succeed. From top to bottom, our country is in desperate need of infrastructure investment. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s overall infrastructure a grade of D+ in 2017, illustrating the relatively poor condition and performance of the country’s infrastructure.
There are so many opportunities to improve. Think about it. How was your commute to work today? Was traffic stalled on the highway? Was your train slow? And public schools: what condition was your children's school in this morning when you dropped them off?
Let's start with infrastructure repair that everyone supports: better roads and bridges. Every year, it seems, highways are more jammed with vehicles and public transportation gets slower. We can do so much better. And we have an amazing tool at our disposal. Municipal bonds offer the cheapest way to finance the new infrastructure that the U.S. needs, and this is a great week to highlight and promote policies that support the growth and development of the muni bond market. It starts and ends with more tools for issuers: first, resurrecting the Build America Bond program to enable issuers access to a greater pool of capital; second, enhance the Federal Highway Trust Fund to finance road, bridge and surface rail transportation projects across the country; and third, flexibility with the tax code to allow for things like advanced refundings or the ability for issuers to reopen an existing/outstanding CUSIP to enhance the liquidity of their bonds.
And beyond the discussion of tools for issuers, let’s get into tools for investors. How do we encourage more investment in these infrastructure projects? How do we make financing public projects as compelling for individual investors as watching the stock ticker on CNBC? The answer is simple: issuers should take steps to connect investors with the projects their bonds are financing. And beyond the initial bond financing, issuers should incorporate technology to enable a strong social connection with these projects by proving ongoing project updates. This is easily achievable with a dedicated investor platform like Bondlink. And this week, through our social media channels, we’ll be highlighting projects our clients are undertaking, and showing how effective their investor relations sites are at keeping bondholders informed.