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Infrastructure Must-Reads, November 30

Monday, November 30, 2015

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The staff of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Executive Council on Infrastructure share some recent publications, speeches, and testimony relevant to infrastructure policy and finance. The views expressed in these pieces do not necessarily represent the views of the council, its co-chairs, members, advisors or BPC.

Compiled by Nikki Rudnick, Aaron Klein and Jake Varn

Infrastructure Investment: Bridging the Gap Between Public and Investor Needs
By Kevin Chavers, Alan Synnott, Martin Parkes, and Anahide Pilibossian – BlackRock

“There is a compelling global need for greater infrastructure investment. Well-functioning infrastructure is critical to driving sustainable long-term economic growth. In many countries, it is becoming more challenging to meet funding requirements from traditional sources, such as public authorities and banks. The OECD estimates that $70 trillion in infrastructure investment is needed by 2030 to simply maintain the current levels of global GDP growth. Private capital can help bridge the shortfall in infrastructure funding, and institutional investors, such as insurance companies and pension funds, could potentially increase their allocation to infrastructure over the long term.” Read the report.

At Long Last – Allocation and Accounting Rules
By Jeannette Bond, McCarter & English LLP – JD Supra Business Advisor

“Good things come to those who wait. The tax-exempt bond industry has waited 18 years for a missing reserved section of the private activity bond regulations, the allocation and accounting regulations, Treas. Reg. Section 1.141-6. The regulations released by the IRS in final form October 27, 2015, (the “Regulations”) provide welcome guidance on allocation of bond proceeds and equity to expenditures and to particular uses within a financed project. The Regulations also take steps to accommodate public-private partnerships by providing for aggregate as opposed to entity treatment of a partnership that includes governmental entities or 501(c)(3) organizations and private persons. In addition, the Regulations amend Treas. Reg. Section 1.141-12 to provide a rule for anticipatory remedial action that permits bonds to be redeemed or defeased prior to an expected action that would cause the private activity limits to be exceeded.” Read the article.

American Job Creation and Infrastructure Forum
By David Rothkopf – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“At the end of World War II, President Dwight Eisenhower and other American leaders undertook a massive program of infrastructure investment that enabled a half-century of national growth, job creation, and enhanced security that undergirded the rapid economic advancements of the second half of the twentieth century. Since that moment, however, the United States has failed to maintain those assets. Today, America’s aging foundation is not only failing to live up to the challenges that the country faces, but is a serious liability in a highly-connected world.

“But that can change. Just as President Eisenhower and the greatest generation ensured economic growth through modernization, the conditions today are ripe for us to make the critical investments from which the United States will continue reap benefits for decades to come.” Watch the event. Read the white paper.

Webinar Series: Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project
BATIC Institute: An AASHTO Center for Excellence

“An in-depth look at the Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, which is being developed as a public-private partnership, with financing backed by availability payments to be made by PennDOT to the private developer over a 25-year period following construction. The project will replace 558 structurally deficient bridges in three years.” Watch the webinar.

Advocates push for more money in highway talks
By Keith Laning – The Hill

“Transportation advocates are pushing lawmakers to boost the federal government’s annual spending for infrastructure projects in upcoming House and Senate negotiations on a new highway bill, even if it results in a shorter road funding package.

“Lawmakers are conferencing over a multiyear highway funding package after the House passed a six-year, $325 billion bill on Thursday that contains three years’ worth of guaranteed road and transit funding.” Read the article.

Overcoming the Infrastructure Gap
Globalization TrendLab 2015, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“Infrastructure needs worldwide have never been greater. Population growth, migration from rural to urban areas, and the rise of the middle class of consumers will in combination create vastly greater needs for transportation, energy, water, and telecommunications. Much of the increased demand will originate from Asia, while repairs and upgrades to existing infrastructure in Europe and the Americas will also add to the gap.” Read the report.

Cut emissions without causing economic harm
By Patrick Decker –

“This month, government officials from 190 nations will meet in Paris to forge a plan for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Among the most difficult issues they’ll face? How best to finance the transition to a clean-energy infrastructure, particularly in developing countries.

“They could start by identifying existing tools that can dramatically reduce carbon pollution even as they save money.” Read the article.