THE poor state of US infrastructure is well known - what isn't, is that public-private partnerships (PPPs) best suited to meet the challenge is hampered by a lack of federal leadership, according to Fitch Ratings, reports the American Journal of Transportation.
Many states have taken measures to tackle urgent infrastructure issues but practically all have limitations due to the extent of the problem.
US PPPs have significant potential to grow further since they can provide better planning and lifecycle asset management compared to publicly funded infrastructure projects. PPPs can serve as an important tool to help bridge the US infrastructure gap, says Fitch.
Sectors of PPP focus are extending beyond transportation into social infrastructure (government buildings and higher education facilities), telecommunications and water projects. However, Fitch believes the pace of growth will be restrained as the public is reluctant to pay for infrastructure investments.
These views are matched by many in the infrastructure industry. Fitch surveyed a group of infrastructure professionals this summer and found that 83 per cent see US PPPs as a growing market. Half believe infrastructure investments is a priority for the public, but the big majority said taxpayers are unwilling to pay for it.
Just under 40 per cent of respondents said transportation PPPs are the most likely to grow in the near term. Half the respondents identified the greatest benefit of PPPs as better asset management.