Black & Veatch: Smart Community Moneyball

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With the world turning towards “smart” everything – from utilities and automated vehicles to entire communities – Black & Veatch works to find value where others may not be looking. This value is especially important when it comes to funding and financing smart community and community broadband projects.

The company’s report, Strategic Directions Smart Cities and Utilities, revealed that cities think Public-Private Partnerships (P3) are an effective way to fund enhanced infrastructure projects. In fact, 60.5% of U.S. cities surveyed say P3 is their top financing model.

“Creative financing models are key to opening doors and developing a valuable partnership for both public and private entities where smart community and community broadband projects are concerned,” said Paul Pishal, Sales Director – Connected Communities.

Black & Veatch designs, builds and connects communication networks and digital infrastructure to evolve energy, transportation, community, and business capabilities. So why not help cities and utilities create a roadmap for success when it comes to funding advanced infrastructure?

“When some people hear P3, they think ‘easily available money,’ but it’s not that straightforward. We work with clients to discover opportunities and methodologies for monetization of smart infrastructure, and it’s definitely a more complicated process,” said Pishal.

Through our research, we’ve learned that there’s a 20% cost savings from using a P3 over a traditional procurement model,” added Pishal. “In addition, over 70% of U.S. states have legislation enabling P3, so there’s genuine opportunity to enable this financing model nationwide.”

According to Black & Veatch, there are five ways cities can plan for P3 success:

  1. Clarity of Desired Outcome – Define the end state the city would like to achieve through a Smart City P3
  2. Market Suitable Business Model – Identify project scope, costs, and sources of revenue and assets
  3. Equitable Value Contribution – Determine assets, services, and other monetary contributions that have market and business model validity
  4. Ownership Model – Understand and negotiate ownerships, rights/restrictions, and intellectual property
  5. Organizations Structure – Implement a partnership with collaborative teams with incentivized targets

There are also other “smart” ways to cover the cost of building infrastructure, including traditional procurement, state and federal grants, and asset leasing. When it comes to P3, how can a city or utility know the time is right for P3 financing? “We can work together to assess whether P3 is the right fit for your community plan. If it is, we can help you navigate through the steps, decisions, and buy-ins necessary for success,” said Pishal.

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting, and construction company with a 100-year legacy of creating a better world for humanity today and for generations to come. Since 1915, Black & Veatch has delivered reliable, innovative infrastructure solutions with a commitment to customers. For more information, visit https://www.bv.com/. View and download the full ‘Smart Community Moneyball’ infographic here.

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