Infrastructure A Top North American Challenge

Sept. 8, 2009
Financing and building infrastructure will be a major challenge facing the future of North America and the US says development group

Naming Virginia the Infrastructure State of the Year and highlighting issues and challenges to funding and improving North American infrastructure, CG/LA Infrastructure LLC offered a preview for the North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum.

"Financing and building infrastructure is probably the greatest current challenge that we face as a country," according to Norman F. Anderson, president and CEO of CG/LA. "Virginia has put itself into a strong leadership position, developing creative new ways of financing almost every type of critical infrastructure—urban mass transit, highways, ports and logistics, and freight rail—and the Commonwealth has done so in the face of the serious financial challenges faced by the state, and every state in the country, every single day."

Pierce Homer, Virginia's Secretary of Transportation, added: "We are extremely pleased by this recognition of our creativity and hard work in addressing not only the infrastructure needs of the Commonwealth in the 21st Century, but in attracting private capital for our vision of the future."

According to CG/LA, in 1980 federal government transfers accounted for approximately 70% of infrastructure investments; by 2008 that situation had been reversed, with the states investing 70% and the federal government accounting for only 30% of investment in infrastructure projects.

Five transformational infrastructure projects from Virginia, totaling $13.8 billion presented at the Leadership Forum include:

Northern Virginia's $1.4 billion public/private I-495 Hot Lanes Project to take full advantage of new technology to facilitate transit, high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) and general traffic movement on Northern Virginia's congested Capital Beltway.

The Dulles Metrorail Corridor Project, a $5.3 billion project to extend the Washington Metrorail system to Dulles Airport and beyond.

Norfolk Southern's Crescent Corridor Project. Virginia was the first to invest in this $2.5 billion project, focused on the I-81 corridor from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, and removing long-haul trucks from the highways.

The Port of Virginia Expansion Projects, which entail $3 billion of incremental public and private port and rail improvements to position Virginia to capture global market share when the Panama Canal expansion is completed.

CSX/High Speed Rail Improvements, which involved $1.6 billion of incremental public and private rail improvements to improve freight movements and extend the high speed Northeast Corridor to the Richmond/Petersburg area, and then onwards to both the Tidewater area and to North Carolina.

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