Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

AUDIO – Wait a minute, we have to pay for all this stuff?

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Unfortunately, we do.

All the infrastructure projects in the world sound great! They look awesome on paper, they’ll make people’s lives better and they’ll let us go visit our friends and families in about half the time it used to take.

It’ll be a dream world!!

Well, unfortunately, we are going to have to pay for all these projects at some point and all of the guests at this year’s Reuters Infrastructure Summit acknowledge that the paying is the hardest part.

But Professor Richard Little, from the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at the University of Southern California, started off with the problem of paying and suggested a few different methods to be considered.

Little, one of those great guests who actually speaks in full thoughts and complete sentences, said that ideas of the moment that might be in vogue (like the public-private partnerships) are all well and good, but are only part of what the country is going to need to do to actually fix its many needs.

AUDIO – Everything has a cost

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There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Or bridge. Or turnpike.

Every project we’re talking about at Reuters first-ever Reuters Infrastructure Summit has an enormous cost — sometimes in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And governments are looking for ways to pay for it all.

Enter public-private partnerships (or P3s as we cool, infrastructure types like to say these days). In these deals, governments will lease or sell an asset to a group of investors for a certain big up-front fee and then they will pay the government a certain per-year fee for the right.

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

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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.

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