The Trump Administration has the admirable goal of encouraging infrastructure investment. One policy it may want to consider is promoting the recycling of existing municipal infrastructure assets. This policy was developed in Australia and has been successful there.
Recycling infrastructure assets does not refer to re-using concrete blocks. Rather, it is a vernacular term that refers to the sale by a municipality of existing infrastructure assets to private investors to raise cash that the municipality can then use to construct new infrastructure assets.
Existing infrastructure assets with revenue histories are perceived as a safer investments for investors than investing in the construction of a new asset that is unknown whether or not it will be able to be operated successfully. This perception means that private investors will pay a higher price for an infrastructure asset with a revenue history than for an infrastructure asset that has yet to be constructed. Further, new infrastructure projects require years to design, approve and construct.
Under a policy of recycling infrastructure assets, municipalities are encouraged by the federal government to sell existing assets that have revenue streams. An example could be a tunnel or a port. The proceeds of the sale are required to be held in a account that can only be used to fund new infrastructure projects.