‘Old-Fashioned’ US Infrastructure Isn’t Enough

By Nolan Miles
P3 Kentucky Staff Writer

The “old-fashioned” way of infrastructure investments isn’t working anymore, according to Cornell University professor R. Richard Geddes.

From under budgeting projects to creating substandard and failing infrastructure, the old way to deliver infrastructure needs is falling by the wayside. Public-private partnerships have an important role to play in advancing the United States in infrastructure policy despite being decades behind other P3 countries.

According to Geddes, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated U.S. infrastructure a D+ due to poor facility maintenance. Public-private partnerships will place the financial risk of maintenance on private sectors who are more apt to managing those budgets and risks.

Geddes notes that in a P3 contract, the private partner usually assumes the risk of time and cost overruns, creating strong incentives to deliver projects on-time and on-budget. And if the P3 includes a maintenance provision with clear, enforceable penalties for deferring maintenance, the contract ensures the infrastructure will be properly maintained.

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