Some Developers Will Pay for New Roads (Up Front at Least)

Star Tribune had an article entitled: Want an interchange?  Show us the money.  The idea is that there are areas of underdeveloped land that is just waiting for new infrastructure to  unleash the land into a torrent of new building (and profits!).  Developers are willing to invest the money upfront to get the development moving years sooner.

Personally I love this idea.  If the road/interechange was already going to be built but just years (or a decade) later, then it is just a question of timing.  If it can be built sooner with the upfront cost paid by the developer, then that sounds pretty good to me.  I do have a few thoughts though:

  • If the state/city have to repay the cost of the project, do they also pay the developer interest on that cost?  If so, how is this different than bonding?
  • Should we ask for the developer to permanently fund part of the project?  If they are unlocking property vaules years ahead of time, the time value of money suggests it is worth something to them.
  • If the new project ruins traffic on other parts of the infrastructure, it isn’t a good idea.  Case in point: the Best Buy headquarters and Penn Ave bridge are awesome expamples of development, but totally screwed all the other traffic along 494… which is now a parking lot from 4-6pm.