This article first appeared in City Monitor.
The US’s bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in 2021 allocated hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrading our nation’s transit infrastructure. However, addressing existing challenges and bringing this infrastructure into the 21st century is easier said than done.
To ensure the efficacy of government infrastructure funding, we must first address the key process issues that hinder the success of such programs.
Public infrastructure projects almost always involve three parties: a public agency organizing the project and soliciting bids from private contractors; the private companies performing the upgrade itself; and one or more government organizations providing funding and subsidies.
To fix the way we invest in infrastructure begins with better communication between the three parties before a project is implemented; to solve the problem, we need the three parties to work together to shape policies and procurement processes. Anything less will lead to wasted resources and disappointing results.
The way we finance infrastructure projects is broken. To fix it, we need to start with design.