Earth Day 2015: New U.S. Treasury Paper Builds on Momentum for Public-Private Partnerships to Address Public Infrastructure Shortfalls
The problem of aging public infrastructure in the U.S. and around the world is well recognized. For example, U.S. businesses pay $27 billion in additional freight costs because of the poor conditions of roads and other transportation infrastructure. Water systems continue to deteriorate throughout the United States, resulting in approximately 240,000 water main breaks each year with associated property damage and repair costs. The increased frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events associated with climate change puts additional strain on public infrastructure. To address these challenges, President Obama has been particularly active in this area. He launched his Build America Investment Initiative in July 2014, and, earlier this year, he proposed Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds, among other ideas, to spur investment in public infrastructure.
Building on this momentum, on Earth Day this year, the U.S. Treasury released a White Paper titled “Expanding the Market for Infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships: Alternative Risk and Profit Sharing Approaches to Align Sponsor and Investor Interests.” The paper presents three incentive structures for public-private partnership contracts that can potentially benefit both public sector sponsors, by delivering higher quality per dollar, and private investors, by generating attractive returns. The paper also includes an overview on public-private partnership deals closed between April 2012 and April 2015, along with their incentive structure.
A lot of the exciting action on public-private partnerships to address public infrastructure shortfalls continues to happen at the city level, with significant assistance from social entrepreneurs and foundations. For example, the RE.invest Initiative, backed by re:focus partners, is a unique collaboration among eight partner cities and engineering, law, and finance firms to create new public-private partnerships for resilient infrastructure. It recently released its report, “A Roadmap for Resilience,” which details the collaboration and provides recommendations for government officials, developers, financiers, and communities engaged in investing in resilience and reinvesting in communities. Another city-focused effort is 100 Resilient Cities, backed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Cities selected for the program receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer; assistance in developing a resilience strategy; and access to a platform of innovative private and public sector tools to help design and implement that strategy.
This past weekend in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City hosted only its second “Earthday Vietnam” event, following the country's first-ever event last year. The theme for this year’s event was “More Exercises, More Eco-Friendly,” which was meant to inspire the public to be more motivated and to pick up wholesome hobbies. The day featured activities like the “Green Run,” where runners dodged obstacles made from recycled materials like old tires, and the “Crazy Dance,” a flash mob featuring thousands of participants.
A press release and photos of the event are available here.
On Thursday, July 17, 2014, from 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), the Constitutional Law Committee of the ABA's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER), will present a teleconference on "Supreme Court Year in Review: The Environmental Cases." Alexander Bandza, an associate in Jenner & Block's Environmental and Workplace Health & Safety Law practice group, will moderate the teleconference, which will feature private sector and academic representatives discussing the following four environmental cases in the 2013-2014 U.S. Supreme Court term:
- CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, covered by Prof. Alfred Light, St. Thomas University School of Law;
- EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, covered by Elizabeth Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center;
- Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. US, covered by Prof. Danaya Wright, Clarence J. TeSelle Endowed Professor, University of Florida, Levin College of Law; and
- Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, covered by Shannon Broome, Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.
Advance registration is required. Register now by completing this RSVP. Please register no later than Wednesday, July 16. Phone lines are limited, so register early.
By: Alexander Bandza
As we previously reported, several Jenner & Block EHS lawyers authored chapters in the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education's (IICLE) publication titled Environmental Law in Illinois Corporate and Real Estate Transactions 2014 Edition. The electronic (PDF) versions of these chapters are now available online:
- Chapter 3, Environmental Considerations in Corporate and Real Estate Transactions, E. Lynn Grayson, Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago;
- Chapter 4, Lender Liability Under Environmental Laws for Real Estate and Corporate Transactions, Gabrielle Sigel and Alexander J. Bandza, Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago;
- Chapter 5, Illinois Environmental Forums, Steven M. Siros and Seth J. Schriftman, Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago; and
- Chapter 10, Treatment of Environmental Obligations in Bankruptcy, Christine L. Childers, First American Bank, Elk Grove Village, and Keri L. Holleb Hotaling, Jenner & Block, Chicago.
The entire publication is available from IICLE here.