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New Centers Aid in Project Investment

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a new program to support transportation initiatives across the country, from which the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is establishing a complementary resource set to launch this month.

Increasing Investment Options

The USDOT unveiled its Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) in a statement late last month (Sept. 29).

BATIC will serve as the single point of contact and coordination for states, municipalities and project sponsors seeking federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation credit programs and explore ways to access private capital in public-private partnerships (P3s).

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© iStock.com / asterix0597

BATIC was developed to make the project development process more efficient, as well as to speed investment in and development of infrastructure projects.

According to its website, BATIC was developed to make the project development process more efficient, as well as to speed investment in and development of infrastructure projects by assisting with the often complex procedural, permitting and financial barriers.

The center was established to provide support earlier in project lifecycles, help sponsors navigate federal permitting and procedural requirements, centralize project coordination, and help to foster P3s.

The BATIC site includes sections on financing options, technical assistance, policies and procedural details. It also provides case studies of successful P3s—such as the Port of Miami Tunnel, Goethals Bridge Replacement and Pennsylvania Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, to name a few—to work from in planning a similar job.

BATIC’s “state-of-the-art center of excellence” will open in fall 2016. The DOT says the new center will implement updated standard design features, modernized technology and a collaborative space designed to foster the "one-stop shopping" concept that the BATIC embodies as a core business practice.

Supporting Transportation Infrastructure

In a cooperative agreement with USDOT, AASHTO is establishing the BATIC Institute: An AASHTO Center for Excellence (the Institute), which launches this month, October 2015.

The Institute will utilize training, best practices and technical assistance help state DOTs and other agencies find innovative solutions to finance transportation projects and safeguard taxpayers' investments, the agency said in its Sept. 29 news release.

It also will work with project sponsors to identify important capacity-building resources that will support the services offered through the BATIC at the USDOT.

"We are pleased to be working with our partners at USDOT to help solve the finance issues transportation agencies face today," said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright.

The Institute will provide specialized education to decision makers and transportation project leaders at state DOTs and local partner agencies.

Through education and outreach programs that include in-person and online training, industry professionals will be able to access the tools they need to apply new solutions within their organizations.

asterix0597
© iStock.com / asterix0597

The Institute will provide specialized education to decision makers and transportation project leaders at state DOTs and local partner agencies.

"Transportation departments are increasingly challenged to find the financial resources needed to maintain and modernize their aging infrastructure systems," Wright added.

"This Institute is a vital resource for state and local government officials looking to identify and utilize ‘real-world’ solutions to finance transportation projects."

About BATIC

In July 2015, President Obama announced a government-wide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth by engaging with state and local governments and private sector investors to encourage collaboration, expand the market for P3s and put federal credit programs to greater use. 

Starting with the transportation sector, this initiative will harness the potential of private capital to complement government funding.

The administration released a set of recommendations that will guide interagency work over the next two years. The recommendations include the establishment of associated technical assistance efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture. It will also expand work on predevelopment funding and enhance the promotion of the U.S. infrastructure market.

Andrew Curtis Right has been named executive director of BATIC. Before joining USDOT, Right worked in the financial services industry advising on transportation infrastructure transactions. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and operations research, with certificates in engineering and management systems and public and international affairs, from Princeton University. He also received an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

“With his background in civil engineering and infrastructure financing, no one is more qualified and ready to lead BATIC than Andrew,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx when the program was unveiled.

“He and his team will provide project partners and potential investors with the clarity and technical assistance they need to move more projects forward and reduce our nation’s infrastructure deficit.”

   

Tagged categories: AASHTO; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways

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