WCL Hosts Conference on Public Infrastructure Finance for State and Local Governments in the Wake of Financial Crisis


WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 3, 2009 –American University Washington School of Law (WCL) and the National Association of Bond Lawyers are hosting a one-day joint conference on Nov. 9 to explore whether our current legal structures are adequate to support the public finance and infrastructure priorities of cities, states and metropolitan regions in the wake of the financial crisis. The program is 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

The financial crisis has wreaked havoc with state and local budgets. Forty-three states are currently confronting more than $350 billion in current budget deficits, a circumstance not seen since the Great Depression. Moreover, the municipal securities markets, like other global credit markets, have not fully recovered.

Simultaneously, we have unprecedented needs to build and repair our nation’s infrastructure on a massive scale--roads, mass transit, sustainable energy production, airports, communications, schools, and hospitals--to make our economy competitive for the 21st century. Questions to be addressed include:

  • What is the proper role of the federal government in assisting state’s capital and infrastructure finance?
  • What are the constitutional limits of the federal government’s role?
  • Are there constitutional or other practical limits to federal regulation of state and local finance rules?
  • Is the U.S. tax code the proper vehicle by which to incent infrastructure investment?

Confirmed speakers include:

Governor Edward Rendell, of Pennsylvania;

Alice Rivlin, Brookings Institution;

The Hon. Felix Rohatyn, former Ambassador to France and author of Bold Endeavors: How Our Government Built America, and Why It Must Rebuild Now

Nancy Kopp, Maryland State Treasurer;

Annette Nazareth, former SEC Commissioner;

Professor Richard Briffault, Columbia University Law School;

Professor Jamin Raskin, Maryland State Senator and WCL Professor of Law;

John Cross III, U.S. Treasury Department;

Aaron Klein, Chief Economist, Senate Banking Committee;

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, of Connecticut (tentative)

Full Conference Schedule:


10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Registration Opens

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM

Welcoming Remarks
William Holby
, NABL President & Jamin Raskin, Maryland State Senator, and Director of WCL Program on Law & Government

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM


(Federal Roles)

The Expanding Federal Role in State and Local Finance: What are the Constitutional limits?


Professor Jamie Raskin, Maryland State Senator


Alice Rivlin, Brookings Institute, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office; Richard Briffault, Professor, Columbia Law School;, Sheila Hixson, Chair of the Maryland Ways & Means Committee; Mark Ellenberg, Professor on Municipal Bankruptcies, WCL; Fernanda Nicola, Assistant Professor of Law, WCL

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM

Luncheon Begins

Introduction of the Luncheon Speaker

12:15 PM – 1:00PM


Phil Angelides (Invited), Chairman, Johnson Urban Communities Fund & former California State Treasurer

1:00 PM – 2:45 PM



Tax Exempt and Tax Credit Finance: Changing the Legal and Financial Paradigm


John Cross III, Director of Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury Department & Nancy Abramowitz, Professor, WCL


Nancy Kopp, the Maryland State Treasurer; John Buckley, House Ways and Means; Arthur Miller, Goldman Sachs

2:45PM – 3:00 PM

Coffee Break and Introduction of the Feature Panel

3:00 PM – 4:15 PM



America’s Infrastructure Imperatives: Legal Structures to Promote Investment


William A. Holby, President of the National Association of Bond Lawyers


Ambassador Felix Rohatyn, Author of Bold Endeavors: How Government Built America, and Why It Must Rebuild Now

Governor Edward Rendell

National Governors Association on Infrastructure

Aaron Klein

Chief Economist, Senate Committee on Banking

Representative Rosa DeLauro (Tentative)

U.S. Congresswoman for Connecticut, Sponsor of the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2009

4:15 PM - 4:45 PM

Q&A Session with Feature Panelists

4:45 PM - 6:00 PM


(Municipal Securities)

Municipal Securities Regulation for the 21st Century: Finding a Federal-State Balance


NABL Past President Dean Pope


Annette Nazareth, Former SEC Commissioner; Nancy Kopp, Maryland State Treasurer; Leon Bijou, SIFMA; Ben Watkins (Invited), Director of the State of Florida Division of Bond Finance

6:00 PM -6:30PM

Closing Remarks & Reception