NCPPP and the Public Development and Infrastructure Council of the Urban Land Institute have published “Enabling Infrastructure Investment: Leveling the Playing Field for Federal Real Property,” a report that explores opportunities and options for responsible infrastructure reform specifically through the lens of re-evaluating the federal real estate project scoring rules and using reform of those rules as a testing ground for developing new practices in similar areas.
The beginning of a new presidential administration and Congress provides a novel opportunity to reconsider existing practices and develop a framework for funding federal infrastructure projects outside of traditional funding models. With this in mind, NCPPP urges the incoming administration to prioritize reform of the budgeting and financing of federal real estate investments while widening avenues for private and commercial investment in these projects starting with revisiting the existing mechanisms for scoring and operating capital investment to eliminate existing loopholes.
The authors made the following four recommendations for the new White House to address this issue:
- The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should test an alternative approach to scoring real property transactions that eliminates exceptions which allow the budgeted cost of investment to be spread over multiple fiscal years.
- Federal investments in real estate assets should be evaluated on a life-cycle cost basis with up-front funding provided for the net present value of long term costs for all investment.
- OMB should develop and evaluate a model for scoring the “cost of doing nothing” through calculating the long term cost of deferred maintenance of federally owned real estate.
- The new administration and Congress should convene a Commission on Budget Concepts to review the efficacy of the current model and develop new paradigms for assessing the cost and value of capital investments.
The full report can be downloaded at: https://www.ncppp.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Enabling-Infrastructure-Investment-FINAL-FINAL.pdf.