America’s infrastructure has not kept pace with society’s growing and shifting demands, having been underinvested in over the last several decades. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently graded the U.S. infrastructure system as a “D.” Bridges are structurally deficient; schools, prisons and hospitals are overcrowded; roads and rail systems need repairs; and the electric grid requires major upgrades and improvements.
Governments have an increasing need to improve aging roads, bridges and public works and to do so using scarce resources. The United States currently has an aggregate infrastructure funding gap estimated to exceed a trillion dollars; many experts calculate the national demand for infrastructure at $250 billion a year, with estimated resources to cover only 25 percent of that demand. The problem is likely to worsen as recent economic conditions have reduced the tax revenues available to fund infrastructure projects. The burden of this funding gap has largely fallen to state and local authorities and requires them to find creative ways to design, build, finance, operate and maintain infrastructure projects.
Public-private partnerships (P3) present at least one answer to this dilemma. Although this form of project delivery system has developed acceptance in the U.S. more slowly than anticipated, public entities have few options available to upgrade their undersized and/or outdated infrastructure.
Alston & Bird has built a cross-disciplinary team designed to provide comprehensive solutions to both government and private sector clients looking at P3 opportunities. In providing these services, we utilize the full resources of Alston & Bird, including transactional, public policy, regulatory, project finance, government contracts and construction.