Sometimes you just have to do it yourself. That’s the message some states seem to be sending as federal infrastructure bills like the Water Resources Development Act keep getting sidelined by Congress or only seeing short-term efforts like the MAP-21 Transportation Reauthorization. The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings has called these states that have decidedly put forward a structure or action plan for infrastructure “Can-Do States” and highlighted these states’ efforts at a recent event.
These “Can-Do States” have formed new structures that operate in ways that improve their state’s access to capital or work across departments to streamline and prioritize investments. What are these states doing differently? Start by looking at these models – the government-owned business enterprise model like Colorado’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise , or the offices for public private partnerships like Virginia that work to put together infrastructure financing deals, or initiatives like the NY Works Task Force that are used to streamline and strategically allocate New York’s capital investment dollars.
According to a new report by McKinsey, infrastructure investment is one of five big “game changers” that could reboot the U.S. economy to quickly create jobs and deliver a substantial boost to GDP by 2020. They believe that increasing the U.S. annual infrastructure investment by one percentage point of GDP could erase the negative side effects of delayed maintenance, and create up to 1.8 million jobs by 2020. With states already taking the lead on reworking their infrastructure strategies to better select, deliver, and operate like McKinsey’s advising, that 1% of GDP investment could create $600 billion annually by 2030. Infrastructure may be just what every state and the whole U.S. economy needs to really grow again.
What could your state do to get more infrastructure investment done with the same budget?