Industry firms have formed a new advocacy group they hope will be a single voice for alternative project finance and delivery, particularly public-private partnerships.
The non-profit Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure says the P3 push is not just to fill funding gaps, but also to speed project schedules, manage life-cycle costs and foster more industry and other private-sector investment. Members hope to address why the U.S. is behind other nations in use of P3s for construction projects.
The New York City-based group's goal is to help municipalities use P3s to manage transportation, energy, water and social infrastructure projects such as hospitals.
"There are a lot of folks in the space claiming to be experts," says AIAI President Richard A. Fierce, senior vice president at Fluor Corp. "We want to improve the playing field for everyone, not just take certain projects to the finish line. We want deal flow to increase."
AIAI hopes to become an information clearinghouse on P3 projects and enabling legislation and to advocate for the approach where appropriate, says Chairman William A. Marino, an insurance executive and CEO of StarAmerica, a new project investment fund.
About half of the states now have no or limited P3-enabling laws, according to the new association.
Incorporated earlier this year, AIAI seeks company and individual members from architects, engineers and contractors, but also from financial institutions, public entities, equity providers, academics and others "who touch P3s," Marino says.
Founding board members also are from Kiewit Development Co., ACS Infrastructure Development and Cintra US. Company dues are based on revenue size.
AIAI will showcase successful P3 projects such as the Capital Beltway HOT lanes in Washington, D.C. "We want to take the fear out of the political arena," says AIAI Vice Chairman Salvatore Mancini, StarAmerica's managing partner and former CEO of Skanska Civil.
Adds Nicolas Rubio, Cintra president and an AIAI director, "The true advantage of P3 is doing more with less."