Bus

Pub Perspective: Barriers to private participation in 2014

Posted on November 19, 2013 by Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher

In the last issue, I mentioned one of the more interesting sessions at this year’s APTA Annual Meeting was the private sector financing session in which investors, lenders and private project sponsors described what they look for in projects to get involved. As I said, it was clear U.S. public transportation lags behind other countries and even other U.S. industry sectors. What was also clear, though, is that current federal government policy is doing nothing to play catch-up, despite the fact that now more than ever, we need to close the gap with the rest of the world.

Key ingredient missing: certainty
It was clear from this session and comments of others engaged in public-private partnerships (P3s), the best deals are those where the roles and responsibilities as well as sources of payments in the contracts are clearly defined and predictable. Those that are less so result in more risk each side may have to take on. And for the private sector companies involved in these contracts, higher or unclear risk almost always means a higher price to cover the greater perceived risk.

For both a Congress and an Administration that agree they should encourage more private sector investment in infrastructure development, they almost could not undermine this goal any more if they tried. Thanks to the shutdown, uncertainty about future solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and Mass Transit Account, and general uncertainty about the next appropriations and authorization bills, there is little wonder why there is as much talk about P3s as there is.

Plenty of evidence suggests P3s and other ways to attract private capital can expand infrastructure investment. Denver’s Eagle P3 Commuter Rail Project and the various state infrastructure banks are examples of this proven success. Bills have already been written and introduced to make this happen — but Congress needs to act for a change.

End the gridlock
One way to start is for both sides on Capitol Hill to agree to end the gridlock and pass a budget for the rest of this fiscal year and next, before the government shuts down again.  If they agree to a number, even one only for transportation, then it will become clear they will have to find tax revenues to fund that number, because the Trust Fund is broke. If the genie comes out of the tax bottle, then passing policies to attract private financing become doable.

Trillions of dollars are sitting on the sidelines, or in accounts overseas, looking for an investment climate with some certainty in it. One of those investments could be public transportation, with hundreds of thousands of jobs created as a result, if our elected officials would only do their jobs.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Denver RTD unveils its Flatiron Flyer BRT vehicle

The Flatiron Flyer buses, which were supplied by MCI and can carry 57 passengers each, are specially branded with a unique blue-and-sunrise-orange paint scheme designed by RTD and a U.S. 36 corridor stakeholder group.

Safe Fleet acquires Hadley's bus, motorcoach mirror product lines

The Hadley mirror business will remain in Elkhart, Ind., but will relocate from the Hadley site to its own production facility over the next few months. The management, engineering, customer service, administrative and production personnel of the Hadley mirror business will remain with the business and transition to Safe Fleet.

BusCon returns to Indy

Each year, more and more people look forward to BusCon as a chance to network, learn about new trends and technology, and gain the tools that are necessary to revitalize the way they tackle their own operations.

Project team wins award for N.Y. bus time displays

The countdown clocks were developed in part to address concerns about the overall accessibility of MTA’s Bus Time system, which sends wait-time information to riders via text message, a QR code scan, or over a web site.

Boston could benefit from more BRT, report says

The report argues that the city should be pushing for the “gold standard” of BRT. That would include a control station that monitors buses and ensures they come at well-spaced intervals and enclosed stops that shelter customers.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close