Global Recognition of US Infrastructure Projects and Transportation Agencies Continues at Partnerships Awards

As we previously reported in April, organizations that annually recognize top projects and industry organizations worldwide have proven that they are no longer focusing solely on mega-projects that are part of major design-build contracts.  This was apparent at the Partnerships Awards hosted by Partnerships Bulletin and PPP Bulletin International on May 23, 2013, where numerous US agencies and projects received recognition.

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Office of Transportation Public-Private Partnerships received the distinction of Best Central/Regional Government PPP Promoter, recognized for its work on some of the largest infrastructure projects currently taking place in the US, including the 95 Express Lanes project and the Midtown Tunnel.  Continuing their winning streak, Dusty Holcombe, Deputy Director of the Virginia Office of Transportation P3, was also honored for Best Individual Contribution. 

Also receiving recognition, Presidio Parkway was "Highly Commended" for Best Transport Project, essentially making it one of top three transport projects in world.  This $1.1 billion project was the first to be delivered under California’s P3 law, and only the third anywhere in the United States to be developed through an availability payment structure.

We would also like to recognize Ernst & Young for being named Best Financial Adviser and KPMG for being “Highly Commended” in the same category.  Congratulations also to Arup for being named Best Technical Adviser.

The Partnerships Awards recognize people and projects from around the world for innovation, inspiration and collaboration.  Entries are first reviewed by an 80-plus expert panel before going on to the 20 head judges. 

Congratulations to all the agencies and their private partners involved in these projects for this highly-deserved recognition.

Infrastructure Executives: Infrastructure Development Needs More Than Favorable Economic Conditions

A recent survey conducted by KPMG International confirms what many in the infrastructure industry already knew: current infrastructure investment is insufficient to support economic growth and politics frequently influences infrastructure development in the United States.  In this global survey, KPMG surveyed 455 infrastructure executives, including 118 from the United States.

While much of the recent industry press has focused on the lack of available financing as the primary challenge to delivering infrastructure, a vast majority of the respondents indicated that governmental effectiveness and current economic conditions are bigger hurdles than available financing.  The respondents expressed specific concerns over what they viewed as an overly politicized process, changing public policy, and excessive government bureaucracy.  When asked how governmental agencies could enhance their effectiveness in delivering infrastructure, respondents suggested making infrastructure delivery less influenced by political considerations, increasing transparency in infrastructure spending, and expanding the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs). 

Recent examples of PPP projects played out in the political arena include the SH 121 project in Texas and the proposed long-term leases of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Alligator Alley.  California, which had pioneered PPPs in the early 1990s, only recently overcame objections from various political stakeholders in the intervening years.  We are hopeful that California’s new legislation authorizing design-build and PPPs for Caltrans and regional transportation authorities is a step toward improved transportation infrastructure delivery.  Given the current administration’s focus on infrastructure, Congress and the administration may now act to address the long-term needs for a stable means of funding infrastructure development and maintenance, without the political roadblocks.