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Ernst & Young Releases Report on Global Infrastructure:
Trillions of Dollars Spent Rebuilding and Expanding Around the World,
but not in U.S., Which Seriously Pales by Comparison

Phoenix, AZ (Wednesday, May 18, 2011)  -- The lack of an ongoing, sustainable and strategic commitment to rebuild and expand its infrastructure will begin to seriously weaken the US’s competitive position in the coming years, predicted Howard Roth, Ernst & Young’s Global Real Estate Leader.  The warning came during an address today to urban planners, architects as well as real estate developers, investors and lenders attending the Spring Meeting of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Phoenix, AZ.   The ULI and Ernst & Young released the latest results of their annual joint global infrastructure survey on Monday of this week.$FILE/Real Estate_Infrastructure_2011.pdf
Roth said that while the forecast may look grim, there are some immediate options that can help close the gap and also help the country create sustainable jobs:
  • First, the US needs to put in place a national infrastructure strategy rather than take a piecemeal approach to maintenance and development.  “The leadership in the US needs to neutralize politics by adopting a “Race To The Top” model for determining priorities and funding projects,” said Roth, "and one of those priorities should be to concentrate on refurbishing and expanding global market gateway cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Houston and Dallas in order to put the US squarely back into the game.”  Roth also pointed to the need for a national as well as state-sponsored infrastructure banks to funnel capital into strategic programs.
  • Second, the US must make itself the preferred market of choice for institutional investment capital by encouraging private investment.  “Studies show that institutional investors plan to increase their allocations to infrastructure five-fold over the next 15 to 20 years and although, a majority of these funds come from US investors, most of the capital is being diverted to Asia, Europe and Latin America because we don't have our act together," Roth stated.  “We need to set the right conditions for US investors to keep more of their money here, and we also must attract overseas investors.”
  • Third, the US must recognize that public private partnerships (P3s) are beneficial to the speedy delivery of some projects, but aren’t the only solution.  “P3s are just one arrow in the quiver; to be truly successful in maximizing public and private dollars and getting the best infrastructure we can afford, we need to be strategic about our investments,” he said.
  • Fourth, the US must realize that too much of the past funding for vital infrastructure has been siphoned off to plug holes elsewhere in the federal budget.  “We already have the lowest total taxes (excise and gas consumption) of any country in the industrialized world but not all of those funds flow into road and infrastructure improvements.  We have to learn that we can’t continue to have everything and pay for nothing,” said Roth.
Roth also told the group that almost every major US economic competitor in the world -- including both developed and developing countries -- has committed to programs investing trillions of dollars over the next several years to rebuild and expand their strategic economic positions and enhance the lives of their citizens.  “China, India and Brazil have all embarked upon strategic infrastructure programs and will invest about US$1 trillion each over the next three to five years in high speed rail, new highways, toll roads and urban transit – in efforts to improve or solidify their global economic positions over the next few decades and into the future,” Roth said.  “Even the United Kingdom, which is in the midst of a severe austerity program, and the Middle East, which has been torn by civil strife, are continuing to invest billions in physical infrastructure, aware that to take their foot off the pedal will eventually bring their economies to a halt,” he added.
In contrast, the mainstay of the recent US approach to infrastructure improvement – the federal economic stimulus program -- peaked in 2010 at just over US$20 billion, and will see a significant reduction in outlay next year and through to 2020.  In addition, state and municipal authorities are dealing with what has become for most “an era of less” – less revenue, less capital for investment and less ambition to address the infrastructure challenge, even though voters rank building and maintaining our infrastructure as a key goal.  “It’s hard to see a comprehensive approach to addressing infrastructure issues here in the US,” Roth said, adding “the stimulus helped, but it was only a down payment on what’s needed.”  The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has projected that the US needs to invest US$2 trillion over the next five years just to maintain its existing infrastructure.
"As if the past few years of economic debilitation haven't been enough, in just the past few months we’ve had major setbacks by Mother Nature on several fronts.  Tornadoes, floods and other major catastrophes have damaged a lot of what the US did have in place last year, and they are an additional wake-up call that the nation’s foundation needs constant attention.  Rebuilding the US is no longer an option, it’s a necessity – and one that requires a strategic and considered approach if we are to remain a global leader,” he said.

About Ernst & Young’s Global Real Estate Center
Today’s real estate industry must adopt new approaches to address regulatory requirements and financial risks, whilst meeting the challenges of expanding globally and achieving sustainable growth. Ernst & Young’s Global Real Estate Center brings together a worldwide team of professionals to help you achieve your potential — a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The Center works to anticipate market trends, identify the implications and develop points of view on relevant industry issues. Ultimately it enables us to help you meet your goals and compete more effectively. It’s how Ernst & Young makes a difference.

About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.
Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a client-serving member firm of the global Ernst & Young organization in the U.S.

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute ( is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

Andrew Neilly
Gallen.Neilly & Associates
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New Ernst & Young Report Indicates 2011 will see Reawakening of Hospitality Sector; Emerging markets set to propel global hospitality growth / January 2011

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