After big talk heard on the 2016 campaign trail about pushing infrastructure development, many had become disappointed a year later as the topic vanished amid political feuding. A bill to support trillions in dollars of spending and investment went nowhere.
Yet, in Washington D.C., the winds of fortune can change swiftly.
The 2018 election swept the Democratic Party back into power in the House of Representatives where some now believe a bipartisan deal can be struck to kick start infrastructure investment. As the issue of infrastructure moves back onto the negotiating table, industry leaders will keep a close eye on its progress to determine how and if such legislation may support ongoing and prospective projects.
Afterall, proposals like PAB reform could spark a wave in infrastructure development, especially airport and social infrastructure, as financing for those projects would compete on a level playing field with transportation and municipal bond financed projects. Speakers at this year’s US P3 Infrastructure Forum will discuss that issue and others as they assess the risks and opportunities in social infrastructure, which saw four projects come to a financial close in 2018 – one more than 2017, 2016 and 2015 combined. If bipartisan legislation is in infrastructure developers and investors’ future, will the number of financial closes continue to climb?
Within the transportation sector, speakers will focus not only on prospective legislation but also recently enacted reforms that could smooth the way for investment and construction. Industry leaders are especially keeping close watch of a Congressional bill that would allow TIFIA bonds to fund airport projects. Moreover, two bridge projects were recently setup as demand-risk projects in Alabama and Louisiana – two states relatively new to the P3 procurement process. Panelists will also explore the latest in airport P3 and car parking projects.
While D.C. is mired in gridlock, officials of several states have taken it upon themselves to stoke investment in infrastructure by establishing or improving P3 laws such as New Jersey, Hawaii and Indiana. Speakers will look at the experiences of those states and others to determine what kind of effect new P3 laws have had on projects.
As is true of any business, technology is changing the way things get done and infrastructure developers and investors are embracing new technology applications in the form of “smart city” and broadband development. Cities like Kansas City and Atlanta are looking to improve WiFi connectivity and even reduce the incidence of gun violence for their residents while states like Georgia is trying to rollout broadband connectivity on a statewide basis.
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