More Private Partners Likely For Municipal Water Infrastructure Projects

The doors of opportunity are opening for private investors in the municipal water market in the U.S. With the country facing a water infrastructure funding gap of $532 billion over the next 10 years, private-sector investments and public-private partnerships (P3s/PPPs) are expected to play a growing role in ownership, management, and operation of municipal water and wastewater system projects.

Let’s ask Congress to respect the importance of our airports!

As the fight over funding rages on in Washington, Congress is suggesting new ways to scoop up revenue that could have a very negative impact on America’s airports. A Senate proposal to nearly double the passage facility charge, which is known as the airport tax, has executives of six airlines urging Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao […]

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Sports Facilities Offer An Abundance Of New Construction Opportunities

With the 52nd Super Bowl still fresh in the mind, now is a good time to review the dozens of other cities throughout the country that are in various stages of planning for new sports facilities/stadium construction. The past year resembled a rollercoaster when it came to planning for new stadiums. Sports construction spending in 2018 is expected to total $4.1 billion and will reach nearly $6 billion by 2019. There are 75 stadium projects in the U.S. that are either currently active or scheduled to begin soon.

Developers Find New Opportunities On University Campuses

Mixed-use development, which was once rather unique to urban renewal and commercial endeavors, is now a hot new trend on university campuses. Throughout the country, college campuses are being transformed into communities and it is typical to see restaurants, retail shops, hotels, green space, offices, parking garages and other amenities adjacent to dorms and classrooms.

Big Changes Occurring on College and University Campuses

College and universityexecutives struggle valiantly as the gap between their critical funding needs and the revenues they receive grows larger each year.

State spending on public higher education is now well below pre-Recession allocations, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

A recent report notes that state funding for colleges and universities for the 2017 school year was nearly $9 billion below the 2008 level.

As they seek alternative funding sources, many state colleges and universities are turning to public-private partnerships (P3s).

Left with few alternatives, educational leaders are turning to alternative funding sources for all projects and initiatives.

Funding and Tuition

Funding is critical and many colleges and universities have been forced to increase tuition rates. The College Board reports that tuition at four-year public colleges nationwide has risen more than 100 percent since 2001.

In California, funding shortages are almost extreme. The California Community Colleges, the University of California and the California State University estimate they will need a combined $47.2 billion over the next five years.

This total includes construction of new facilities that will be required and the modernization of many current facilities.

Public colleges in other states are facing similar problems.

Public Private Partnerships

As they seek alternative funding sources, many state colleges and universities are turning to public-private partnerships (P3s). In these types of engagements, public officials partner with private-sector companies that offer capital, expertise, experience and a willingness to take on project risk.

P3 engagements are structured so that a long-term revenue model is designated to repay the initial investment funding.

Initially, P3 engagements were primarily used to fund and build student housing projects. The success of the projects, however, led to other collaborative efforts.

Now, campus P3 engagements are common for all types of projects and initiatives.

A Quick Survey of the Field

-The University of Kentucky recently completed a five-year, $450 million P3 engagement that resulted in the addition of more than 6,800 new beds on the campus. The university also has a 15-year, $245 million P3 contract for dining services. At Texas A&M University-Texarkana, a P3-funded project will result in construction of an $11million multipurpose building that will feature sports facilities as well as a lab, classrooms, a gaming room, student recreation area and retail space. Building on other P3 successes, the University of Kentucky is currently considering a collaborative effort for a mixed-use retail and parking development.

-San Diego State University’s proposed $3 billion development plan for the former San Diego Chargers stadium property will likely involve a P3 engagement. The project will include a 35,000-seat sports stadium, two hotels and a total of 4,500 housing units. The plan also calls for the inclusion of retail and office space.

-Appalachian State University will be soliciting proposals for a P3 project that will include the construction of more than 2,200 student housing beds on campus. The project will also include rebuilding another dormitory.

-Officials at Delaware State University will seek to engage a private partner to design, build, operate and maintain a residence hall through a long-term ground lease. Not only will the university gain new beds, but it also expects to eliminate $15 million in maintenance costs for two aging residential facilities that will be razed once the new housing complex is completed. In announcing a $750 million fundraising campaign, a University of Delaware spokesperson announced plans to use a P3 to build housing designed for graduate students, young professionals and faculty.

-A $35.2 million plan to renovate the Stevens Center was recently approved by the University of North Carolina (UNC). This renovation is expected to convert the aging facility into a world-class performing arts venue. UNC will solicit private-sector partners to collaborate with on the project.

-Kent State University (KSU) is eyeing a possible 10-year project that will cost more than $1 billion to transform its main campus. The project would include construction of new academic and other buildings, renovation of existing buildings, addition of green space and expansion of bike trails and walkways. KSU officials indicate that more than half the cost of the first of three phases will likely be paid in part by a public-private partnership. Among the first phase projects are additions and renovations to Rockwell Hall and White Hall and additions to the Aeronautics and Technology Building. Terrace Hall will be torn down to facilitate a new parking deck.

Leaders Moving Forward

University leaders now realize they must seek new solutions to funding shortages. With an abundance of alternative funding sources available, some officials say that when a large project is approved and before debt is incurred, there should be a study to determine whether a public-private engagement is appropriate.

If so, collaboration with experienced partners and the use of private-sector capital is very compelling.

State funding continues to shrink – most large public projects will require alternative types of funding in 2018

As a new year approaches, state lawmakers throughout the U.S. are projecting the lowest state spending increases since the Great Recession. In fact, public-sector spending at the local levels of government has been outpacing state spending for a number of years. A recent survey by the National Association of State Budget Officers indicates that general […]

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