In a recent commentary for The Bond Buyer, Chris Hamel and Kent Hiteshew—a Senior Fellow at the Marron Institute—argue that the Trump infrastructure deserves a second look:
Despite the lack of funding, the Plan is a comprehensive and specific approach exceeding in thoughtfulness many of the think tank infrastructure tomes over the last several years. Despite the absence of adequate federal funding levels, it advances a vision — greater involvement of the private sector with public infrastructure—and then details how the federal government will pursue this new infrastructure paradigm with its vast authorities.
Why is this important? Because the traditional “government monopoly” model for delivering and operating infrastructure has, in part, led to the predicament we are in. Said differently, the current underfunding problem isn’t just the need for increased funding; the problem is also very much how current funding is deployed.
Governments at all levels need to advance solutions that achieve greater design, procurement and operating efficiencies with the revenues they already have. For example, recent experience across the country with design-build procurement techniques have reduced the cost of infrastructure projects, especially the big and complex ones, by 10% to 20%.
The Trump Plan’s numerous proposals to involve the private sector are intended to address this shortfall in our country’s current model. And, before one too quickly dismisses these ideas as “Trumpian,” recall that the Obama Administration spent much of its eight years promoting increased use of Public-Private Partnerships (P3). The private sector elements of the Trump Plan in many respects are the logical next steps of Obama-era advocacy of a similar model.
Tile image courtesy of Lance Anderson.