New Federal Infrastructure Policy Slow To Materialize, Dampening Enthusiasm For Private Infrastructure Deals
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Following a slow start this year, fundraising efforts for U.S. infrastructure projects picked up during the second quarter, with 17 infrastructure funds securing $25B, up from nine funds that raised $13B in Q1, according to Preqin data.
By contrast, infrastructure deal activity was sluggish during the second quarter, also according to Preqin. In Q2, just 569 infrastructure deals were concluded, worth a combined $49B. No quarter over the last five years has seen a combined worth of less than $55B until now.
Last quarter's low fundraising efforts were due to a sharp drop in activity in Europe, but even in North America, the value of infrastructure deals has been stagnant, Preqin reports.
In other words, funds have the dry powder for more infrastructure deals, but they seem to be reluctant to commit to them. That is despite proposals of public support for private infrastructure deals floated by the Trump administration.
Federal incentives, such as partially matching funds, might encourage state and local governments to pitch more projects to investors, but so far progress has been slow to remake federal policy on infrastructure, Bloomberg reports.
The U.S. government has taken steps to streamline the approval process for federal infrastructure projects, but President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan — which would rely heavily on private investors — is unlikely to be taken up by Congress until after the midterms, Bloomberg said.
Even so, the administration doesn't seem to have given up on its infrastructure plans.
“We hope to do something big on infrastructure,” U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said recently at Fortune magazine's annual Brainstorm Tech conference in Colorado.
Chao said disagreements about how to pay for an infrastructure proposal, which would use $200B from the federal government, are causing the delay.