Critical Condition: Saving America's Cities


  • Pension and health care burdens. Crumbling roadways. There's no end to big city budget woes, but some quirky tactics within municipal books.

  • Ford Motor Co. said it will invest $200 million to make four-cylinder engines at the Ford Motor Co. Cleveland Engine Plant in Brook Park, Ohio.

    Even struggling metros are having success in attracting investment. In the process, they are creating a virtuous cycle of creativity.

  • Baltimore, Maryland

    Baltimore's needs billions to fix its aging water infrastructure. The trickle down effect for residents: rising bills to clean up the system.

  • High cost of clean water

    CNBC's Scott Cohn reports from the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant in Baltimore, Maryland, where the city has budgeted $3 billion over the next several years to fix the system.

  • Baltimore is leaking

    Senior correspondent Scott Cohn on how Baltimore's troubled water system might cause "America's Comeback City" some major setbacks.

  • Jack Brown Produce workers sort apples on a packing line in Sparta, Mich. The state, a big exporter of agricultural goods, is among U.S. regions raising its export profile.

    Aiming to generate growth and jobs, small- and mid-sized companies in more metro areas are making bigger bets on the global economy.

  • Orlando, Florida

    These sunshine cities have focused their efforts on developing new industry niches to strengthen their local economies and promote future growth.

  • Clouds Over Miami

    Senior correspondent Scott Cohn on how the SEC is urging more regulation in the municipal bond market.

  • Detroit city grate is missing a cover. With cut backs to city services, Detroit's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair.

    Detroit's bankruptcy, and rumblings about tax overhaul, have fueled a big sell off in the municipal bond market. What's next?

  • Miami at night

    The ebbing economic tide from the Great Recession revealed some of the worst swindles in municipal finance in decades.

  • Chi town's pension problem

    CNBC's Scott Cohn reports Chicago, IL, along with being the murder capital of America, also has one of the worst pension situations in the country.

  • Pension Predicament

    Senior correspondent Scott Cohn on how pension shortfalls have dealt a blow to America's cities.

  • Detroit firefighters protest the city's bankruptcy hearing in July.

    A analysis of large state and local municipal pension plans finds they face an array of financial burdens as workforces near retirement.

  • Cities face billions in pension fund shortfalls

    No city has as serious a pension issue as Chicago, reports CNBC's Scott Cohn. Nationwide, the municipal pension debt ranges from $800 billion-$4 trillion, he adds.

  • A construction crew fixing aging water pipes in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Federal and state funding cutbacks are challenging Main Street. The future of America is at stake since cities contribute more than 90 percent to GDP.

About Saving America's Cities

  • The fiscal squeeze in Washington has trickled down to America’s cities. Senior Correspondent Scott Cohn traveled to five American cities in the midst of crisis—find out if one is yours.

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