Creative Ideas for Rebuilding Coast

By Aaron Rice
October 27, 2005

Governor Barbour and Jim Barksdale, who is the chairman of the governor's commission on rebuilding the coast, have been encouraging "big ideas" for the rebuilding effort.

The natural tendency of people will be to think of government programs or projects that could be created or expanded to try to meet the needs on the coast. Obviously, that would NOT be the proper way to rebuild, but even if there are projects that most people would think of as legitimate for the government to do, there are sometimes ways to finance those projects that limit the cost to the taxpayers.

For instance, a few years ago in the District of Columbia, a private company built a school at no cost to the taxpayers in exchange for some land the school wasn't using anyway. The company built an apartment building on that land, and they're using the revenue from that to pay off the privately-underwritten bonds issued to build the school. This approach could be applied in some Gulf Coast districts that have land near the beach that would no doubt be attractive to developers.

We should pursue big ideas - but not big government.


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