Infrastructure 2011: A Strategic Priority assesses the state of infrastructure in the United States and around the world, examines what the next few years are likely to hold, and provides recommendations for moving forward on the infrastructure investments and strategies that are needed for regions and countries to continue to prosper and grow. Despite increased rhetoric about the importance of infrastructure, states and metropolitan areas are struggling to find funds to make basic repairs on aging systems and to build the new transit and road networks needed to position themselves for future growth.
America’s infrastructure investments – levels of which have long trailed behind those of Asia and Europe – will be further stifled this year by pressures to cut federal spending and reduce the deficit, compelling cities to be evermore creative and resourceful in securing partnerships to start or continue infrastructure projects. The Infrastructure Report emphasizes the challenge faced by many urban areas trying to provide adequate transportation and other infrastructure services for their residents, workers and businesses.
The report provides a snapshot of the infrastructure challenges, particularly those related to transportation, faced by 20 major U.S. metropolitan regions. Outside of the United States, “in most of the developed world and in many emerging markets, countries have committed to fulfilling infrastructure agendas as essential for sustaining or enhancing living standards in an increasingly competitive global marketplace,” says the report, which looks at infrastructure investments on six continents.
The most promising solution to the nation’s infrastructure shortfalls is to greatly expand public-private partnerships (PPP), the report suggests, pointing to the experiences of Virginia, Florida and Texas with managed toll roads as PPP success stories. “The interest in gaining access to private capital and expertise through PPPs should accelerate as public funding sources diminish.”