When President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address last month, the construction industry — and the nation — got a brief look at the scope of his long-awaited infrastructure plan, but Congress and the White House must still hammer out the details of that proposal.
Construction Dive asked industry leaders like William Eliopoulos to weigh in on what he would like to see in an infrastructure initiative. Here’s what he said:
If there is to be federal infrastructure legislation in 2018, P3 leaders would like to see it introduced sooner rather than later. There is significant concern that this prolonged anticipation without delivery has actually suppressed state and local governments from starting needed P3 infrastructure projects while they wait to see whether they might be able to take advantage of cheaper financing and additional funding from new federal legislation.
P3 Industry leaders will be looking at how the new infrastructure legislation provides funding and financing incentives and guarantees for P3 infrastructure development at the state and local levels. The [Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)] and [Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA)] are existing successful federal programs that provide such incentives and guarantee to allow state and local agencies to sponsor P3 transportation and water infrastructure projects using lower-cost financing rather than purely private [financing].
Will Congress expand these programs and extend them to P3 projects for airports, rail, educational, civic (e.g., city halls, courthouses, convention and civic centers) and other types of projects?
Will Congress extend the availability of tax-exempt private activity bonds — currently largely limited to affordable housing projects — to state and local P3 Infrastructure projects, in order to help lower the cost of financing and boost the affordability of badly needed state and local infrastructure projects for public entities?
Will political considerations influence the states earmarked for these federal funds and programs? Some leaks indicate that rural “heartland” infrastructure projects will receive a disproportionate amount of the funds under the legislation.
Will the infrastructure legislation restructure the federal “scoring” guidelines for new federal public works projects which currently dis-incentivize federal agencies from utilizing P3 as a project delivery method?