Cities Need Billions for Capital Projects

September 15, 2017

GMA recently conducted a survey of cities to determine how much money they will need over the next five years to fund capital projects. We're still gathering data but the results so far indicate that cities have billions of dollars in needs. Based on the response of 30 percent of our members, GMA’s research team has projected the capital needs of cities over the next five years to be $11,826,644,718. Atlanta’s share of that amount is $1.5 billion.

Here are some key findings of the survey:
  • The greatest need is for water/waste water - $4.2 billion
  • Over $2.5 billion is needed for transportation
  • $1.2 billion is needed for government buildings
  • Public safety needs = more than $1 billion
  • For Atlanta, the top three capital needs are: Water & Sewer ($496,591,103); Public Safety ($359,772,852); and Land Acquisition/Greenspace ($30,267,688).
GMA will be posting more about the Capital Needs Survey later this month, as we continue to collect and analyze data. But you may want to localize the story by asking your cities about their specific capital needs over the next five years. What are the projects? How are they planning on financing the improvements? Can they fund all their needs? And if not, which ones are the most pressing?

It’s not a surprise that water/sewer projects are the top need. The infrastructure is aging and not always treated kindly, as this really, really gross and fascinating story shows. (I didn’t know “fatberg” was even a term and now I want to use it all the time). If you’re looking to do a public service for your wastewater treatment operators, do a story about what things should not be flushed – and that includes wipes/makeup removers that are advertised as “flushable,” but actually clog up pipes.

If your city was impacted by Irma, another angle may also be to see what, if any, long-term effects the storm had on your city’s infrastructure.

Amy Henderson:; Cell: 404-387-0624, Twitter: @amyh_gma
Kelli Bennett:; Cell: 404-796-5508, Twitter: @KelliB_GMA
GMA on Twitter: @gacities


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