President Obama has announced an initiative to encourage public-private partnerships for infrastructure development. Along with the recently touted “infrastructure bank,” Thursday’s announcement shows additional Administration commitment to increasing investment in roads, bridges and water, and recognizes the need to utilize private capital to strengthen U.S. infrastructure. This initiative, which does not require approval from Congress, may make it easier to finance projects and foster collaboration between state and local governments and private investors.
While the Build America Investment Initiative focuses on transportation infrastructure, municipal water needs were addressed in the official White House announcement. The Build America Interagency Working Group, chaired by the Treasury and Transportation secretaries, is designed to encourage these partnerships between the public and private sector. The White House indicated that this “effort will include a particular focus on improving coordination to accelerate financing and completion of projects” and “expand and increase private investment and collaboration in infrastructure beyond the transportation sector.”
Additionally, on September 9, the Treasury Department will conduct an “Infrastructure Investment Summit.” The Summit will be a collaborative workshop between key stakeholders to develop innovative approaches to infrastructure developments. These programs should help ensure that projects remain funded, that new, creative and ambitious projects receive funding, and provide the appropriate tools and resources to facilitate successful PPP’s going forward.