AUDIO – Finding a model; then build, baby, build!

May 6, 2009

Infrastructure spending. Public-private partnerships. Government buildouts.

This week, all of these kinds of phrases are much on the mind of our guests at the first ever Reuters Infrastructure Summit held in New York, San Francisco and Washington.

While infrastructure means different things to almost all of our guests (schools, roads, bridges, etc) — one of our first guests, Petra Todorovich, talked at length about the need for high speed rails.

Todorovich, the director of the Regional Plan Association’s America 2050 project, told Reuters that buiding the high-speed rails makes a great deal of sense for travel, business and infrastructure.

What model would she use? Try the airlines. While equity investors might feel a cold wind blowing through their portfolios at the mention of the perpetually difficult-to-predict sector, Todorovich likes the way the industry melds its private side with its public financing.

Todorovich also spoke about other models for infrastructure spending that different locales have used.

Todorovich was one of the first speakers at this year’s summit, which runs through the end of this week.

One comment

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We are going to have to pay for all these projects sooner or later. I don’t think at this point we even know the true costs of these project and as it always happens, the price tag will dramatically increase by the time these infrastructure and other projects will be completed. Look at Boston’s Big Dig. This is a perfect example of government failure and miscalculation, the project costs were dramatically underestimated (maybe even voluntarily, to make it easy to sell to the public) and by the end the expenses and costs had ballooned. I think all the new projects that had been on the discussion plate, you could easily multiply it by 2 or 3 and that will be your true cost, and if not 100% correct, the number is very close to reality. How to pay for these? That’s a good question…

Posted by David Dzidzikashvili | Report as abusive