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Smart Funding: Building Smart Cities Will Require Creative Financing

Cities struggling with finding funds for smart city initiatives might be wise to connect the issue with another that almost all municipalities have in common – aging infrastructure.

“There is an essential aspect in connecting the investments in smart technology to the imperatives of the aging infrastructure, and that, in turn, speaks to asset management,” said Rick Azer, Associate Vice President and founding member of Black & Veatch’s Growth Accelerator team. 

Azer noted that with the advancements in communications, sensor and connectivity technology, assets inevitably become “smarter” as they are replaced with new equipment. The ability to collect, measure, and move data from connected city elements demonstrates the increased value of these assets.

It becomes an issue of being more creative in funding and taking advantage of opportunities presented. For instance, while the streets are trenched, there’s opportunity for the cities to lay fiber optic conduits that, in turn, could generate revenue.

“The investments in state-of-the-art technology and the basic pipes and wires are interconnected like never before. The marginal cost of implementing smart city applications can provide significant value to a municipality’s objectives in resiliency, safety and economic development.”

Rick Azer, Associate Vice President and founding member of the Black & Veatch Growth Accelerator.