Officials from Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia have formed a new partnership to help meet public infrastructure needs that government leaders say are critical for the region to stay economically competitive in the coming decades.
The West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, a nonprofit partnership of governors, treasurers and development agencies, is designed to make public works and energy projects more feasible by helping West Coast states and British Columbia explore strategies such as bundling and alternative funding methods, including the potential of private capital, to finance critical infrastructure projects.
With transportation, energy and public works systems that are aging or nearing capacity, officials have said nearly $1 trillion in new infrastructure investment will be needed in the region over the next 30 years.
“Investing in aging infrastructure is critical, not just because of the jobs we create during the construction phase, but because infrastructure is what keeps our economy moving forward,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire, in a statement. “Working together, states and provinces can develop a West Coast that supports continued export growth, a brighter future in green jobs and high quality of life for our families.”
No projects have been selected yet. But the exchange is laying the groundwork to identify the initial wave of proposals.
During a start-up phase that will run through 2013, an exchange manager will be recruited and participating governments will decide on criteria to evaluate projects.
These could include energy efficiency, municipal lighting, water aquifer recharge and other projects constructed through performance-based partnerships with the private sector.
More information is available at www.westcoastx.org.