Rockerfeller Foundation launches two-year city infrastructure initiative


In an event held with media yesterday afternoon, the Rockerfeller Foundation along with public, private and non-profit partners announced a two-year city infrastructure investment program dubbed the RE.invest Initiative. The first phase of the initiative will be investments in eight partner cities across the country to help develop resilient urban stormwater infrastructure systems. The goals of the initiative are to help cities use public resources more efficiently and attract new sources of private investment, to reduce the burden placed on city personnel and public budgets.

The RE.invest Initiative announced that the partner cities are: San Francisco, CA; Miami Beach, FL; New Orleans, LA; Hoboken, NJ; Honolulu, HI; El Paso, TX; Milwaukee, WI; and Norfolk, VA.

Participating cities will receive technical assistance from engineering, law and finance experts at Bechtel; Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP; and Wall Street Without Walls. These firms will play a collaborative role with the cities by providing expertise and technical support. Akin Gump is also providing legal counsel to the initiative itself and Wall Street Without Walls is providing financial counsel. According to the group, one of the primary goals of RE.invest is to shape a new model for collaboration between private investors, private sector and municipalities that can support learning, flexibility and continuous improvement in infrastructure delivery.

“Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call that cities across the U.S. need to protect their communities from the devastating impacts of future storms. Recent reports indicate 11 billion gallons of untreated waste water was released due to surges during just that storm,” said Shalini Vajjhala of c.dots development, the lead on the RE.invest Initiative. “Our goal is to prevent the kind of destruction that is caused by these terrible storms, which are increasing in intensity.

Sustainable stormwater infrastructure systems are networks made up of many component parts, such as green rooftops, trees, wetlands and repaved roads that feature more permeable surfaces that result in less runoff. Partners will identify news ways to bundle revenue streams so cities can effectively work with private investors and the private sector to make smart improvements to their local infrastructure.

“Smart planning, innovation and an integrated approach are key to developing the sustainable infrastructure necessary to enhance the social and economic fabric of America’s great cities,” said Walker Kimball, Managing Director, Infrastructure, Bechtel. “We are looking forward to using our technical know-how, our history of applying creative thinking to infrastructure planning, and our ability to help make projects become a reality.”