The Rebuilding of America focuses on the need to address the grumbling of the bridges, roads and tunnels that have received failing grades in The American Infrastructure Report Card from the ASCE. Of course, it’s important to remember that the state of the nation’s infrastructure hasn’t reached its current state because of apathy or lack of interest in addressing the issue — every politician knows building a new bridge or road that eases congestion is a great way to get elected. No, the country is in this current predicament because of money and strained regional and local budgets that have diverted money to other interests and project.
Up in Canada, they’ve created something called the Canada Infrastructure Bank to address the funding component of infrastructure projects by creating public-private-partnerships. Of course, like any type of new government program, it’s not without its controversy, but this article in the Calgary Herald provides a view into how it is unfolding:
OTTAWA — The federal agency built to find new ways to pay for new Canadian infrastructure says it is deep in talks on over a dozen projects.In the fall, officials with the Canada Infrastructure Bank had more than 120 meetings about more than 60 projects across the country, including some that came unsolicited from the private sector. The bank’s mission is to find ways to get private money to pay for public projects that will produce revenue, such as toll roads and transit systems and trade portals.Officials have narrowed their focus to about a dozen possibilities for serious consideration, but details about them will only become public if the agency agrees to back work with loans or equity stakes.The bank’s political critics say the bank is acting in secret with billions of public dollars and hasn’t gotten much done anyway. The agency says making the projects public before deals are signed could cause financial harm to their public owners and private backers.Infrastructure Bank CEO Pierre Lavallee says there is a negotiation process for any projects under serious consideration that includes the sharing of confidential financial information that can’t be made public.