By Nolan Miles
P3 Kentucky Staff Writer
It’s National Infrastructure Week, and in the midst of changing infrastructure guidelines and needs, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that she and other leaders are considering 16 funding mechanism for national infrastructure improvements, including public-private partnerships.
The White House released its new infrastructure plan on February 12, revealing plans to rely heavily on non-federal funds. Chao said that public-private partnerships are needed to complete infrastructure projects across the United States.
“All these mechanisms are available. Every single one of them has their advocate, but every single one of them has their detractors as well. The gasoline tax, while popular with some groups, is obviously not popular with others,” Chao said. “There’s a painful point for all groups. This administration hopes we will work with Congress to cross this difficult divide.”
Comparatively, the United States falls behind other nations in grasping the opportunity for new public-private partnerships for infrastructure growth. Sharing the risk between the public and private sectors encourages economic development for all parties. Chao has been an advocate for private sector investment in infrastructure projects nationwide.
“The inclusion of the private sector to bring about their solution to infrastructure repair is something that we don’t have that much of in this country,” Chao said. “We really need to be more open-minded in terms of finding more sources of financing for the infrastructure. We’re not used to tapping the private sector for public infrastructure, and that’s really ironic given that we have the biggest capital market of any place in the world.”
National Infrastructure Week took place this week in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce, the week consists of a series of workshops and seminars to discuss the state of national infrastructure projects.
Click here to read more about Chao’s keynote address.