June 1, 2016 – In mid-May Vinh Mai, a Research Associate with the Center, started as an intern at CG/LA Infrastructure Group, a Washington DC based consulting firm specializing in solving the global infrastructure investment gap. As an Infrastructure Projects Research Intern, he will examine the US infrastructure market, focusing specifically on CG/LA’s US Infrastructure Market Blueprint 2025. Vinh expects to finish his internship this August.
April 27, 2016 – Lisardo Bolaños collaborated with the Guatemalan Association of Non-Traditional Exporters in presenting their Roadmap to increase Guatemalan manufacturing exports. Reducing the time and cost of domestic and international transportation is one of the main challenges to increasing exports. For some manufacturing sectors, the ability to supply with short lead times can become an important competitive edge for a country so close to the United States.
Lisardo made it clear in the proposal and presentation that Public-Private Partnerships, or Alianzas para el Desarrollo (APD) or Alianzas Público-Privadas (APP), are an important tool that should be considered to tackle these challenges. Moreover, taking into consideration the research Lisardo worked on for the Center, the proposal included some specific recommendations to manage the risks and increase the value of delivering transportation infrastructure projects via P3s, particularly in the case of renegotiations and bankruptcies. The use of P3s was specifically highlighted as an alternative way to link the main cities of the country, via rail and roads, and also to improve the infrastructure and services provided in seaports.
The proposal can be found here (in Spanish).
Some of the reports on the event can be found here (in Spanish).
Center Graduate Research Associate Lisardo Bolaños, who previously worked with a think tank in Guatemala, was interviewed about ten P3 projects to be implemented in Guatamela, including highways, railroad, airports, ports and a gas pipeline. Guatemalan P3 Agency, ANADIE, is evaluating the feasibility of these projects.
Different analysts and local government organizations mentioned concerns due to insufficient information on the projects and insufficient information given to the public on what P3s are and what their advantages are, as well as insufficient information on how local governments may take advantage of P3s. Bolaños, based on the research done at the Center, mentioned that it’s important that Guatemala: (i) enacts a Chapter 11-like legislation to guarantee the continuous operation of the projects in case of problems; (ii) enacts legal reforms to favor the buy-out of these projects as an alternative to bankruptcy and renegotiations; and (iii) promotes the use of mechanisms to prevent renegotiations, such as Dispute Review Boards.
To read the full article (in Spanish) in Plaza Pública by Julie López and Miguel González Moraga, click here.
On February 9, 2016, Dr. Jonathan Gifford gave a briefing to guests of the State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). The program focuses on the role of public-private partnerships in restructuring economies. Click to view Gifford’s presentation, U.S. Transportation Public Private Partnerships: Governance and Institutional Arrangements.
Center Graduate Research Associate Jeong Yun (“JK”) Kweun is a 2016 recipient of George Mason University’s Summer Research Fellowship. The Fellowship provides funding for masters and doctoral level students to spend concentrated time on thesis or dissertation research over the summer break without the distraction of securing and carrying out other employment. JK was selected from dozens of highly-qualified applicants conducting cutting-edge, innovative research at the University.
Center Director Jonathan Gifford was asked to become a mentor for 1776 in the transportation arena. “In cities around the world, commuters spend hours each day driving to and from work. Meanwhile, new modes of transportation and new technologies are making it easier and cleaner to get from place to place. 1776 works with startups to identify how we can use technology to make the ways we travel across town and around the world faster, safer, more efficient, and more affordable.” (http://www.1776.vc/)
Gifford has already completed a few monthly mentoring sessions and is excited to continue mentoring the 1776 startups as they work to address current transportation problems through new ideas, technologies and business models.