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T O O L S A N D T E C H N I Q U E S T O D E L I V E R M O R E P R O J E C T S FA S T E R 43 for these projects through a national fee on freight cargo. attach some numbers to the benefits of using these tools A stand-alone agency would be created for the freight to make the case to decision makers and stakeholders bank, with the fees administered by U.S. Customs. Eligible that the benefits of using the alternative tools are worth projects could include seaports handling international the costs. She described the challenges of coming up import cargo, border crossings, inland cargo interchange with these numbers as threefold: projects, and other projects designated by metropolitan planning organizations. The projects would need to There is an absence of a control case, that is, one respond to security issues, environmental concerns, or the of not using innovative finance. need for expedited shipments. It is difficult to isolate the impacts of innovative Preusch noted that this national program would gener- finance from the myriad other factors at play. ate needed revenues for freight and intermodal projects, You need to be careful that you understand when address inadequate local infrastructure in terms of mov- benefits are being redistributed versus enjoying a net ing more goods that "last mile" to their final destinations, gain, that is, simply divvying up the pie versus making and incorporate the principle that all consumers should the pie bigger. pay for the benefits of improved freight infrastructure. Roskin pointed out that there is a "lunar landscape of pitfalls" associated with quantifying the benefits of Discussion innovative finance and cautioned against losing sight of the fundamental value of the project to the customers it Ron Marino will serve. Roskin noted a number of relevant evaluation reports: Ron Marino led the discussion for this session. He described how complex projects today require different TE-045 Innovative Finance Initiative (1996), revenue sources and different levels to get the projects State Infrastructure Bank Pilot Program (1997), done. In discussing projects with private benefit, he noted TIFIA Federal Credit Program (2002), and that private businesses will need to step up and help pay. Innovative Highway Finance "Capstone" The discussion also addressed the question of how to Retrospective (2002). convince people to pay for something they perceive they already have. Participants noted the importance of defining value to affected communities and structuring Innovative Financing, an Economist's View tolls or other user charges that capture that value. George Erickcek SESSION 4: QUANTIFYING AND Following Roskin, George Erickcek offered the econo- COMMUNICATING THE BENEFITS AND mist's view on quantifying benefits of innovative finance. COSTS OF INNOVATIVE FINANCE Erickcek highlighted the economic considerations in assessing whether innovative finance is a good thing. He Robert Rich, Public Financial Management, Inc. cautioned that if we are shifting the costs of today's infra- (Moderator) structure to future users and even nonusers, then we must Hank Dittmar, Great American Station Foundation be more scrupulous in forecasting future revenues. (Discussant) Miriam Roskin, Roskin Consulting George Erickcek, W. E. Upjohn Institute for Communicating Innovative Finance to the Public Employment Research Fred Jarrett, Washington State Representative Representative Fred Jarrett Finally, Representative Fred Jarrett recounted the saga Quantify and Qualify: Strategies for Assessing the of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge project, constructed next Impacts of Innovative Finance to an existing bridge. He offered a cautionary tale and reminded the session participants that (a) it is nearly Miriam Roskin impossible to convince people to pay for something they perceive they already have and (b) if tolls--or any fees, As the first speaker on this panel, Miriam Roskin for that matter--are going to be used to finance a proj- offered a reasoned approach for not only quantifying ect, we need to understand better what is valued by an but also qualifying the benefits of innovative finance. affected community and to communicate clearly the She explained that we need to be able and want to value of the project to that community. He also asserted