Smart Growth Infrastructure

Funding and Financing for Smart Growth Infrastructure in California


Smart Growth Infrastructure The Smart Growth Infrastructure Funding and Financing (IFF) program is designed to assist cities to identify funding and financing opportunities and potential partnerships for public infrastructure improvements to support transit-oriented development, climate adaptation infrastructure, and other smart growth projects. The information available to you here defines available funding sources and financing tools to fund projects such as:

  • Community facilities (fire, police, library, childcare, schools, etc.)
  • Electricity/utility infrastructure
  • Local streets/roads
  • Ongoing operations and maintenance
  • Parks/open space
  • Sewer/stormwater
  • Streetscape/placemaking improvements
  • Transit/transit stations
  • Affordable housing
  • Climate-Smart Infrastructure (climate-resilient infrastructure)

Several of the funding sources and financing tools listed are linked to one or more case studies of recent smart growth improvement projects in California and across the country. The case studies and other information resources were completed since the elimination of redevelopment agencies in California 2012, and are designed to highlight emerging alternatives to tools that are no longer available.


Case Studies

The case studies presented on this site explore tools and strategies for funding, financing, and managing TOD/smart growth infrastructure projects.

They fall under one of two categories:

Funding and Financing Tools and Strategies

These case studies profile comprehensive smart growth funding/financing strategies and the use of different tools and resources, including emerging tools that are likely to become more important for California cities seeking post-redevelopment funding solutions & TOD/smart growth infrastructure projects.

Parking Management Strategies

Managing and financing public parking is often a key component of a successful TOD/smart growth plan. Many transit station areas need expensive parking structures to accommodate commuters and adjacent development instead of surface parking lots. In other station areas or infill districts, parking management strategies can help ensure efficient use of existing parking spaces reducing the amount of new parking needed while helping to attract new shoppers and transit users, mitigate traffic congestion, generate funding for neighborhood improvements, and protect nearby residential neighborhoods from visitor, employee, and/or commuter parking. These case studies describe various methods and strategies for managing and financing parking to support TOD and smart growth development in an urban setting.


Funding Sources and Special Districts

“Funding” is a revenue stream from a tax, fee, grant, special district, or other source that generates money to pay for an improvement. Local governments typically dedicate some portion of property, sales, and other jurisdiction-wide tax revenues to fund infrastructure. In a time of severe fiscal constraints for many public entities, however, communities are looking for ways to leverage traditional sources of local government revenue and generate new sources to pay for TOD and smart growth infrastructure.


Financing Tools

There are two basic ways to approach paying for infrastructure: “pay-as-you-go” and debt financing. In a pay-as-you-go approach, improvements are made only when sufficient revenue is collected to cover the entire cost. In a debt financing approach, the improvement is paid for immediately, typically by borrowing against future revenues – in other words, issuing debt that is paid back over time.



Transit-oriented development, infill development, and other types of smart growth projects often fall under the purview of multiple public agencies and usually involve collaboration with various property owners, local community organizations, and other private and nonprofit entities. Forming effective partnerships is therefore a critical part of developing a successful funding and financing strategy for smart growth infrastructure. These partnerships can include interagency partnerships, public/private partnerships, and anchor institutions, defined below.