Connected Cities, Energy, Funding, hospitals, Public-Private Partnerships, schools, Transportation, Water

According to a new study, three existing funding pools could cover the infrastructure gap – 12 times over.

Public buildings often define the impression of a city. But many are being neglected and overlooked.

In the U.S., millions of children are attending deteriorating schools. Hospitals are postponing badly needed repairs. According to Business Insider, public construction (as a percentage of U.S. GDP) is at its lowest point in 20 years.

The challenge to fund critical infrastructure is a concern of governments throughout the world. When it comes to the infrastructure gap—the shortfall between the investment needed and the amount funded—transportation gets the lion’s share of the discussion. And indeed, the need with aging bridges, highways, railways and airports is readily apparent. Yet our social infrastructure and water and wastewater systems have equally pressing demands—and often the responsibility to maintain and improve much of it rests with regional organizations and municipal governments.

A mechanism that offers potential to spur investment in all facets of infrastructure is public-private financing. Common in the transportation realm, public-private partnerships (PPPs) have become a widely accepted project delivery model outside of the U.S. across a variety of infrastructure sectors. PPPs permit the public sector to leverage private sector investment capital, shift project risk, and facilitate a higher level of maintenance for significant projects.

A new paper from AECOM outlines how PPP’s can be an effective to help close the infrastructure gap, even to address disaster resilience at the local level, and examines the advantages and common misunderstandings of public-private financing.

For more information, see the press release on “Fostering a Larger Private-Sector Role in United States Infrastructure” including a link to the paper executive summary. (Though the paper focuses on U.S. issues the principles apply universally.)

Erik Miller ( is an editor of the Connected Cities blog.

Originally published Jun 28, 2013

Author: Erik Miller