Viewpoints

You gotta believe

by Bill Wolpin
Jul 10, 2017

For months, I called the Help Desk complaining that my computer was about to croak, and, last week it did. Similarly, for decades, we’ve known that our Infrastructure was dangerously close to croaking – and it still is. You know it. I know it and now, the country is beginning to believe it.

President Trump believes it, too, and unlike any president since Ike, he is trying to do something about it. Through his proposed budget, he also is trying to inject $200 billon in Federal money behind it to spur investment by the private sector and state and local governments.

For years, we thought that private money might back Infrastructure projects, and at least one firm, Blackstone is building a fund to support such investments. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia was its first win with a $20 billion equity commitment to the company’s new $40 billion U.S. Infrastructure Fund. "With leverage, the company expects to build assets worth $100 billion, which would be the largest infrastructure fund ever raised," according to The Motley Crew.

Another $30+ billion has been raised by Brookfield Asset Management ($14 billion), Global Infrastructure Partners ($15.8 billion), and Kohlberg-Kravis & Roberts ($3.1 billion). Another two private equity funds are reportedly trying to raise another $9 billion for its infrastrucutre fund. 

I'm not sure how much of this money is being raised in anticipation of the Trump infrastructure plan, because cities and counties across America already have or are currently planning infrastructure projects. In fact, American City & County along with sister brands such as Industry Week, Transmission and Distribution World, Energy Times and Electronic Design are surveying our audiences on their infrastructure project plans. 

This data will give us an unparalleled understanding of what type of infrastructure projects are actually in process or in development, which technologies will go into them, such as IoT, devices, which energy infrastructure improvements are most needed, and how infrastructure improvements will affect the industrial sector.

Click here to take American City & County's survey now.

Like our Help Desk, which finally got religion when they had to send me a new computer, Americans have to believe that infrastructure is critical to our country’s future. If we don’t, we will be driving on the road to nowhere with nobody in our rear view mirror.

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