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A great report from the BPC on the need for private investment in public infrastructure that includes a discussion on the use of crowdfunding. Here are the highlights:
"An emerging discussion among infrastructure practitioners is the potential of crowdfunding to help pay for projects. Crowdfunding, in which individuals throughout the world can contribute to projects or causes through an online platform, has been successfully used for many projects in the private sector, but has rarely been tapped for infrastructure. However, there have been a few examples in which a local project with community appeal has received funding from this approach. Memphis, Tennessee used crowdfunding to raise the last $75,000 of the $4.5 million needed for a bikeway through a developing downtown arts district. The sponsors of the project saw the benefit in the crowdfunding approach not just as a revenue raiser, but as a powerful way to demonstrate the extent of public support for the project. Other places have funded community gardens or parks. The state of Hawaii is exploring the use of crowdfunding to help pay for maintenance in public schools. Thus far, crowdfunding has been used successfully only for small-scale infrastructure projects with clear community appeal. Whether this tool can be expanded to address larger needs is not yet clear. However, for certain types of projects, public sponsors would do well to consider the potential of crowdfunding not only to bring in revenue, but also to establish a platform for stakeholder engagement around infrastructure needs, which ultimately could engender more support for infrastructure investment generally."