A Society Grows Great When…

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Old Men Plant Trees Whose Shade They Know They Shall Never Sit In

Steven L. Stockton, Director of Civil Works for the US Army Corps of Engineers repeated that Greek proverb in closing his remarks at the recent CG/LA North American Infrastructure Forum in Washington DC. While the Director was preaching to a rather large choir, it was clear that (outside the Hotel) the gospel he was preaching was Greek to most of the executive & legislative officials populating the district.

Speaker Takeaways:

Andres Gluski – CEO of AES Corp.

  1. US Infrastructure is losing versus major competitors.
  2. The private sector has to be involved due to the size of the US debt and our spending on entitlement programs.

Susan Grey – Global Head of Infrastructure at S&P (Regarding consumer perceptions of public/private partnerships and infrastructure)

  1. The #1 concern for the public is roads & bridges.
  2. The #2 concern is public transportation.

Mark Freedman – Boston Consulting Group (On the construction industry globally and nothing really groundbreaking)

  1. Rebound in North America (strongest in the US / Canada a little slower) with some strengthening in Europe.
  2. Expect depressed oil prices going forward.
  3. Overall for infrastructure, O&M spend is well above capital projects spend (no surprise there).

Best P3 Infrastructure Projects That Presented (my personal opinion)

  1. Virginia & Various Utilities: Atlantic Coast Pipeline (they are leveraging the Marcellus Shale intelligently). Link
  2. Virginia: Transurban (The I-495 & I-95 Toll Lanes are things we in the Bay State only dream of even if they do get a little pricey with dynamic tolling). Link
  3. Anbaric Holdings – Maine & Vermont Greenlines (High Voltage Transmission of Canadian Hydropower via underground lines). Link
  4. Honorable mentions to the Ports of New Orleans and South Louisiana.

The best conference takeaway is still the hope that a staggering debt load won’t be the only legacy we leave to those coming after us. There are lots of folks who understand the economic multipliers that modern infrastructure offers (even in congress) and their number is growing.

If infrastructure is of interest to you or your business, this is a very well run, and well attended, conference. Tell Norm I sent you.