The Bipartisan Policy Center issued a new report this week titled, Bridging the Gap Together: A New Model to Modernize U.S. Infrastructure, highlighting the needs and opportunities for public-private partnerships to help address the growing water crisis in many communities around the country. Here is the forward by Susan Story, CEO of American Water, and Doug Peterson, CEO of S&P Global.
As American business leaders, we are committed to increasing investment in our nation’s infrastructure. The condition of roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems, airports and civic buildings, serving communities all across this country, is deeply concerning. But, as with any crisis, we must recognize the incredible opportunities presented. Our council is proof of the willingness among bipartisan political leaders and the business community to come together with a renewed focus and imperative to invest in our nation’s shared future.
The connected infrastructure systems that support households and industry are central to America’s continued economic success and growth. Citizens must be able to live and work in areas with safe roads and bridges, clean water, and easy access to transportation. Businesses must enhance productivity and move goods efficiently to markets around the world to stay competitive. This is possible only with modern, robust, and well-maintained infrastructure.
Our determination to invest, however, is based on more than our businesses’ bottom lines. America is the land of the innovator, and there are unprecedented opportunities to build emerging technologies into our communities, making them safer, healthier, and more connected. Unfortunately, government investments in infrastructure are not keeping pace and private capital has yet to be fully engaged. Complacency and competition for limited resources have led to the neglect of both our nation’s valuable existing assets and the needs of a growing population. We have failed to incorporate new delivery methods that would help communities build, maintain, and operate their infrastructure more seamlessly, with less risk, and at a lower cost.
This report commits business leaders not just to ideas but to action, and in that way, our effort is different from previous work on this topic. The private sector brings access to capital, innovation, and expertise that we are eager to commit to long-term investment in our nation’s infrastructure, and we will work with the public sector to deploy these resources over the full-life cycle of our nation’s infrastructure assets. However, we acknowledge and firmly believe that every investment must first be guided by a sincere statement of public purpose and fortified with a commitment by all parties to the proposed plan of action. Indeed, partnership between the public and private sectors is the only way to maximize the value of our shared investment. Let’s get to work!