State Infrastructure Bank of Nevada’s Priorities Include Housing and Charter Schools | Carson City Nevada News


State officials plan to use the $ 75 million from the State Infrastructure Bank to support charter schools, meet federal funding requirements for infrastructure and affordable housing development.

The proposed allocations – including up to $ 20 million for an affordable housing investment fund, up to $ 15 million for a charter school development and construction fund, and up to $ 40 million dollars to help bring more federal funding to state infrastructure – was detailed in a bank Wednesday. board meeting, but now face a 30-day public comment period before they can be finalized.

“Investing in affordable housing boosts economic growth and productivity, connects workers to communities of opportunity, improves health and education outcomes, and has a positive impact on support services,” said Christine Hess , Executive Director of the Nevada Housing Coalition, a non-profit organization working to promote affordable housing. during the meeting. “Affordable housing solutions are complex and the possibilities to solve them are plentiful, and this one is important. “

The structure of the infrastructure bank was established in 2017, but it did not receive funding until the 2021 legislature, when the bank was restructured to widen the eligibility for funding of various projects by adopting SB430 and seeded with $ 75 million in general obligation bonds by the governor’s budget approval.

State infrastructure banks typically operate as state-run revolving funds (meaning all loans and interest are reinvested) that offer direct loans or credit enhancement products to help with projects. infrastructure, generally focused on transport.

Ted Chandler, senior managing director of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, a mutual fund that invests in fully-built housing projects with unions, argued Wednesday for a proposal to invest $ 20 million in development affordable housing.

“Nevada can participate… with developers who have long-term commitments to using union labor to secure affordable housing, and at the same time create jobs for local residents that can lead to careers in the community. construction, ”he said.

Chandler stressed that the state should work with developers who have a proven track record of building affordable housing and that the investment will help create more construction jobs.

Under the proposed rules, affordable housing projects would be required to use apprentices enrolled in state-registered apprenticeship programs for at least 10% of construction hours. Rob Benner, secretary-treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada, highlighted the need for Nevada to increase its construction workforce as older workers retire.

“We envision losing half (of) our construction workforce over the next 10 years. We have to make sure that we are training enough apprentices now to avoid a massive shortage of workers, ”said Benner.

Benner noted that there were nearly 6,000 active apprentices in the state, working in a variety of different roles including carpenters, electricians and roofers, and Chandler pointed out how affordable housing projects would help employ more people. apprentices.

The proposed allocation also includes an investment of up to $ 15 million for the development of charter school facilities and buildings serving low-income and at-risk student populations. Nevada Charter Schools do not have access to facility funding state, and the construction of charter schools is generally funded by private sources.

“In short, it would ensure that more money stays in the classroom and does not go to for-profit entities,” said Erik Jimenez, deputy director of policy in the treasurer’s office.

The bank’s proposed guidelines for borrowers would require qualifying borrowers to be a government unit (such as a city, county, school district, or state agency), an Indian reserve or colony, or a private body in non-profit created for charitable or educational purposes. These borrowers would be allowed to partner with another private entity under the proposed rules.

The proposed final allocation would also set aside up to $ 40 million to provide financial assistance to qualified borrowers that would allow them to compete for certain federal infrastructure funds requiring state matching.

“There is something like $ 350 billion in competitive subsidies in the Law on investment in infrastructure and employment, most of which require some level of correspondence between states to take advantage of those federal dollars, ”Jimenez said.

This story has been used with permission from The Nevada Independent. Go here for updates to this story and others.