Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Not the Type of International Press Coverage...

...that most Chambers are interested in receiving. From London's Financial Times:
Jefferson County, in which Birmingham is located, is one of the most indebted municipal governments in the US, owing an estimated $7,000 (£3,550, €4,500) for every adult and child. In recent years it took advantage of easy lending conditions in the municipal bond market, mainly to fix its ailing sewerage system. But since the credit crunch started last summer, funding costs have soared and investors have been less willing to lend. The county is now struggling to meet its interest payments.

If it cannot reach some kind of agreement with its lenders in the coming weeks, Jefferson could become the site of the largest municipal bankruptcy seen in the US - overshadowing even California's Orange County fiasco from the 1990s.
Yes, sprawl growth is one of the reasons for this situation. After all, why were bonds needed for all of this infrastructure in the first place? Yep. To pay for sprawl.