All ears

18 May 2017 P3 appears to be dominating discussions during Infrastructure Week, but enthusiasm alone will not deliver the pipeline many crave
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This week P3 Bulletin has published numerous stories detailing positive P3 discussions held before Congress as part of Infrastructure Week in the US.

The fact that P3s are on the agenda is no shock of course. But the fact that they have had such a high profile role in many testimonies shows the appetite to harness their potential, once and for all.

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao spoke of her desire to make the playing field more attractive to the private sector through the simplification of regulatory and environmental processes.

The previous day saw various key public officials also speak of the benefit that P3 can have if utilized in the appropriate manner.

So far the response from these testimonies has not been heard. But the Senate surely must now be wising up to the role that P3s can play in the fight – and it does often feel like a fight – to haul US infrastructure into the 21st century.

The fact that so many public officials are willing to speak up on behalf of P3s is a reflection of the traction that the model has made over the past few years – even if some of the examples of P3 have not always been successful.

It is vital that the powers that be, at all levels, learn from these failed projects too. After all, no one is saying that P3s are the answer to all infrastructure needs across the country.

What needs to happen now is for Congress to use its power to facilitate P3s being a viable option for all regional governments should they decide that it is the path they want to go down. Only with the right support from federal government will long term success really be sustainable.

As demonstrated during Infrastructure Week, there are ample jurisdictions out there that not only want to pursue this road but also have proof that it can work, as highlighted by the testimony of Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.

The desire for further proof of this theory has been highlighted by the new Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment (BRIDGE) Act bill, which was also launched this week.

Under these plans, a bi-partisan coalition is vying for the creation of a new financing tool to support regional governments and allow them to leverage federal funds to harness private sector investment. You can’t have one without the other, after all.

Chao also mentioned again this week that President Donald Trump’s proposals will be revealed in “the coming weeks”. We have heard this for a while now, but, based on the recent hearings, at least when they do come, there will be many officials primed to take him up on his offer.

 

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This page was last updated on:
19 May 2017.

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All ears

P3 appears to be dominating discussions during Infrastructure Week, but enthusiasm alone will not deliver the pipeline many crave

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Blazing a Trail

Plenary Concessions executive chairman Dale Bonner gives Dan Colombini his views on the ever-changing US P3 landscape

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