We hear many pleas for greatly increased investment in U.S. infrastructure. Although federal and state transportation budgets are limited, infrastructure investment funds, as well as pension funds, are ready, willing, and able to make such investments. Their problem is lack of a serious pipeline of projects to invest in. President Obama each year for the last four or five years has proposed that the federal government spends billions more on infrastructure—but his pleas have been ignored by Congress, given the lack of a dedicated revenue source.
Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at how Australia is dealing with this subject. As in the U.S., most infrastructure in Australia is the responsibility of the individual states. They have been taking an active role. Now, Australia’s federal government is giving them an incentive to do even more. The key concept is what the Aussies call “asset recycling.”