All but the most wishful thinkers among P3 proponents had already given up on President Trump’s big plans for investing in infrastructure. Confirming their skepticism, Trump told a group of lawmakers on Sept. 26 that private financing of public infrastructure is off his screen. In front of his Vice President, he called the largest infrastructure asset recycling deal in the country, the Indiana Toll Road lease, a failure, and noted that public-private partnerships (P3s) are “more trouble than they’re worth.”
That sentiment echoes public comments early this year by New York real estate developer Richard LeFrak, a Trump advisor, who questioned the role of highly complex P3s in addressing the public works investment gap.
Even incremental changes that would require White House leadership—altering the tax treatment of P3 deals, for example, or allowing TIFIA to be used for asset recycling transactions—seem to be off Trump’s screen, for now.
Trump’s flip may be a good thing.