- The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced an $11.2 billion, six-year infrastructure repair program that will tackle approximately 501 deteriorating bridges and 2,523 miles of roads, Equipment World reported.
- The new initiative is $2.8 billion more than the previous plan, IDOT officials said.
- The federal FAST Act contributed $134 million per year, but transportation officials said they will still have to deal with a shortfall in projected revenue and work "with all stakeholders on a long-term, sustainable solution."
Several states are grappling with crumbing bridges, roads and highways and are looking at different financing options, especially ones that could optimize their investment dollars. Nebraska and California have turned to gas and sales taxes to finance their needs, while states like Indiana use a variety of sources. States including Georgia, New York and Maryland are exploring public-private partnerships (P3) as a way to stretch their transportation dollars.
An infrastructure report from the American Society of Civil Engineers found that the U.S. will soon be facing a $1.44 trillion infrastructure funding shortfall that could grow to $5.18 trillion by 2040 if the issue is not addressed. The report said a lack of necessary funding could put 2.5 million U.S. jobs and $4 trillion in gross domestic product at risk and suggested a focus on private investment in infrastructure.
A recent Bipartisan Policy Center report suggested that increased private sector involvement could go a long way in helping to fix the nation’s antiquated and damaged infrastructure.The center said that every level of U.S. government could benefit from public-private partnerships (P3s) but cited red tape, inefficient bureaucracy, a lack of transparency and the time it takes to process permits and obtain environmental reviews as major hurdles. The benefits for government, the report said, would be access to the private sector’s expertise with construction and maintenance, as well as its "visions for a project’s design."
Yet another pro-P3 report, this one from Moody's Investors Service, said that the U.S. — with stable government resources and necessary legal and capital frameworks in place — is poised to become a global leader in the implementation of P3s. More local governments are receptive to the idea of P3s, particularly for large public projects that have a significant maintenance phase that the agency would rather hand over to the private sector. P3s can also help public entities minimize their risks by shifting more to the private sector, as well as help them to leverage limited public funds with the help of private financing.