Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The increasing demands on the nation’s water resources infrastructure, combined with a constrained federal budget, has been the impetus for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to seek alternative options to finance and deliver much needed water resource infrastructure, according to Dr. Gerald Stedge, who leads the Natural Resources Practice at Abt Associates and heads a project to help the Corps develop a public-private partnership (PPP) program.
“The Corps has a multi-billion dollar backlog of authorized, yet unfunded, projects, and as its PPP Advisor, Abt is helping the USACE’s Institute for Water Resources examine and select non-traditional finance and delivery options,” said Stedge.
The work also involves developing three to five PPP pilot projects to help the Corps “understand the hurdles to PPP deployment and how to overcome those obstacles,” Stedge said, adding that the pilots will cover the broad range of the Corps infrastructure, ranging from inland navigation to flood control projects. In addition, Abt is creating a plan to build the Corps’ internal capacity to formulate, bid, award, and manage PPPs.
In early April, Stedge, along with Abt’s subcontractor Huron Consulting, presented the Chief of Engineers and the USACE’s senior leadership a framework for use of the PPPs in civil works. The presentation focused on identification of the opportunities, conditions and requirements for successfully using PPPs.
“It is vital that the Corps engage PPPs as early as possible to market-test the PPP options,” Stedge emphasized, adding that “it is important to not lose sight of the fact that there must be adequate private sector appetite for the various projects. Bottom-line, he said, PPPs will allow the Corps to access private sector capital and innovation to help ensure the nation’s water resource infrastructure needs are met.”
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.