Incentives from the federal government did, however, provide motivation for the state of New South Wales. Canberra bumps up the proceeds of asset sales like Endeavour by 15 percent if a state pours the entire amount into new infrastructure.
In the United States, many infrastructure assets are also under the control of state or local governments which are often reluctant to cede control. This may be where Washington needs to focus effort and resources, too.
Third, raising money against existing assets rather than new ventures is a faster way to mobilize private funds. The U.S. Bipartisan Policy Center noted in February that a greenfield infrastructure project may need as many as 59 different permits involving a dozen federal agencies. Trump administration officials talk of cutting a 10-year approval process to two years, but for now red tape is a roadblock.
Partially privatizing public infrastructure can be controversial, even in countries like Australia where it’s hardly novel. Yet if Trump and his colleagues want to attract private capital, the recycling model is one to take seriously. There’s plenty of investor demand for U.S. infrastructure; the dearth of supply is the problem.
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