Indicative of the push by the govenment and stakeholders to renew and expand the nation's roads and bridges, the Department of Transportation has laid out specifics on its Build America Transportation Investment Center, which it said will aim to ease the “procedural, permitting, and financial barriers to increased infrastructure investment and development.”
DOT also announced that via a cooperative agreement with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, it will establish The BATIC Institute: An AASHTO Center for Excellence.
BATIC itself was established a year ago as part of President Obama’s Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide effort that seeks to “complement” government funding with private capital.
The center will serve as the “single point of contact and coordination” for states, municipalities and project sponsors to access federal transportation expertise, apply for federal transportation credit programs and look into ways to leveraging private capital via public-private partnerships, according to DOT.
DOT said the BATIC Institute: An AASHTO Center for Excellence Institute will “improve State DOTs and other public sector organizations’ ability to effectively employ project finance tools through a program of training, sharing best practices, and technical assistance. As part of this effort, AASHTO and USDOT will work with project sponsors across the country to identify institutional capacity building needs and develop resources.”
The Institute, AASHTO said, will “help state departments of transportation and other agencies better utilize innovative solutions to finance transportation projects and safeguard taxpayers' investments. The Institute also will develop important capacity building resources that will support the services offered through the BATIC at U.S. DOT… Through education and outreach programs that include in-person and online training, industry professionals will have access to the tools they need to apply cutting-edge solutions within their organizations, across the country.”
"We are pleased to be working with our partners at U.S. DOT to help solve the finance issues transportation agencies face today," said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. "Great ideas need to be shared and decision makers across the country will benefit from the Institute as they learn about the many innovative options available."
Wright added that the new BATIC Institute, which will launch next month, will serve as “a vital resource for state and local government officials looking to identify and utilize 'real world' solutions to finance transportation projects."
DOT also said that in the fall of next year, it will unveil “a new state of the art center of excellence” for BATIC itself. That space will be modernized to include updated standard design features, new technology, and a collaborative design “to foster the ‘one-stop-shopping’ concept that BATIC embodies as a core business practice.”
Andrew Curtis Right has been named Executive Director of BATIC. Prior to joining DOT, Right worked in the financial services industry advising on transportation infrastructure transactions.
He holds a B.S.E. in Civil Engineering and Operations Research, with certificates in Engineering & Management Systems and Public & International Affairs, from Princeton University as well as an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
“With his background in civil engineering and infrastructure financing, no one is more qualified and ready to lead BATIC than Andrew,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “He and his team will provide project partners and potential investors with the clarity and technical assistance they need to move more projects forward and reduce our nation’s infrastructure deficit.”