Digital Services

Infrastructure Development Set To Boom

Unless there are unrecognized negative influences of the coronavirus pandemic once a vaccination is developed, expect to see engineer and construction firms gear up for substantial opportunities resulting from U.S. transportation and infrastructure upgrade initiatives and the expansion of smart city mega-projects.

Businesses will adjust their operations to take advantage of the advent of new technologies and innovations. New partnerships will be formed within and across the ecosystems that will hasten the expansion.

Don’t be surprised to see a launch of an overdue U.S. infrastructure initiative that will provide a major boom for American engineer and construction businesses. The need for an infrastructure upgrade is more than obvious as we see the effects of neglect that include congested roads, unsafe bridges, old water and wastewater treatment plants.

The project will no doubt require a major commitment of both the private sector and the federal government to pull all the resources and funding necessary for such an undertaking.  According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, it will require an investment of about $4 trillion to sufficiently repair the infrastructure of the United States by 2025.

The U.S. federal government will pitch about $2 trillion into the project during the next 10 years and the endeavor should end up being one of the largest infrastructure investment programs in U.S. history.

The enhancement plans include the reconstruction of roads, bridges, water systems, broadband, and the power grid.  The project should create jobs and generate revenue for the E&C industry.

The U.S. federal government budget calls for the distribution of $200 billion for crucial infrastructure reconstruction activity that will cross a range of business sectors. Still, there are things that could impede expectations including the rising debt caused by federal government reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, the tariff wars that are affecting the cost of some raw materials, and the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Expect to see private funding to augment the federal government investment in the infrastructure initiative. Opportunities will arise for E&C companies to participate in public-private partnerships The model of these partnerships may be based on models developed during the European experience to upgrade their infrastructure. For example, France and Italy allowed private firms to manage roadways providing an incentive for their participation. Look for similar models to occur here in the states. Government incentives should also attract the participation of contractors in the repair and maintenance of many elements of the infrastructure rather than just modest upgrades and replacements.

Don’t be surprised to see government-contractor partnerships that would allow private sector companies to analyze the new construction for deterioration and then for these companies to step forward in making future repairs or replacements.

Watch for innovations that will make roadways “intelligent” to make maintenance easier and assure new monetization prospects including roadway tolls to induce public-private cooperation.  Look for new materials to be used that perform better, are more sustainable and are easier to repair and maintain.

The E&C industry has already given a leg up to the project with its deployment of smart technologies in the upgrading of cities in 2019. This metamorphosis has been occurring worldwide due to a global trend toward more urbanization. It is forecasted that 68 percent of the world population will be living in urban areas by 2050. Urban planners are already envisioning and creating smart solutions to maintain the trend.

Don’t be surprised to see cities engaging with the public-private partnerships to assure the construction of smart infrastructure within the cities. This could generate the construction of sustainable buildings, energy and water transportation facilities and the creation of other elements meant to sustain quality of life. In short, don’t be surprised to see artificial intelligence used in building management systems to ensure comfort for the buildings’ inhabitants.