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Private Investment Needed to Improve Public Infrastructure

Ernst & Young predicts that global competition among governments for private capital to fund roads, bridges, water projects, and other public properties will increase over the next decade. The professional services firm's latest report, "Global Infrastructure 2007: An Emerging Asset Class," notes that large-scale infrastructure projects around the global will require huge capital demands (running into trillions of U.S. dollars) and private sources could account for 10 to 15 percent ($240 billion to $360 billion) of this amount annually. "The growing need for private capital for infrastructure is caused by the budget shortfalls municipal and national governments around the world have faced in recent years," says Dale Anne Reiss, Ernst & Young's director of Global Real Estate. "Private capital supporting public infrastructure is not new. But what is new is the extent and the sophistication of private investment. It is truly emerging as a new asset class." Reiss further notes that private investors can bring tremendous experience in managing large-scale projects at potentially lower costs than public agencies.

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