As we come to the final week before the 2012 US presidential election, this post reviews the political platforms of both the Democratic and Republican parties related to water resources.
I had the privilege of speaking at the National Association of Water Companies annual meeting in Miami, Florida, last week concerning municipal finances in the United States, and particularly California. The focus of the panel—which also included John Bohn (esteemed former Commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission) and Mark Strauss (American Water), with Debra Coy moderating—was on potential opportunities for and impacts on the private water sector.
The McKinsey Global Institute has published a new report entitled Urban world: Cities and the rise of the consuming class (2012) on increasing global urbanization and meeting the increased demands associated with urban consumption, including municipal water demands. The speed and scale of urbanization today is unprecedented in global history and, significantly, is distributed unevenly, with the majority of urban growth occurring in emerging regions.
As communities face infrastructure challenges across the United States, many are looking to public-private partnerships (P3s) as a valuable tool to gain access to private capital and deliver projects in an efficient and timely manner. One requirement for successful implementation of a P3 is well-crafted legal authority. Because local and state government procurement laws are normally dictated by state legislatures, most P3 authorities are established on a state-by-state basis, although some cities and counties have also authorized P3 projects pursuant to home rule.
The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships sent a letter on October 13, 2011 to members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the so-called “Super Committee”) urging that body to consider opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s) to meet the United States’ debt reduction and infrastructure needs. P3s have the potential to allow federal, state and local governments to leverage public monies with private funds for design, construction and operation of infrastructure, thus reducing the amount of government debt required to accomplish such projects. P3s have the additional benefits of delivering infrastructure projects more quickly and efficiently than traditional methods of government procurement.