The USA and Australia are due to embark on a new era of cooperation on key transportation priorities, after US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, and Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, signed an agreement that will strengthen collaboration between the two countries on infrastructure investment strategies and new transport technologies.
The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) will enable the two nations to exchange information, data and best practices on topics including the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) to support infrastructure development, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and unmanned aircraft systems. One of the key areas of cooperation identified in the new agreement is the development of P3s to advance critical infrastructure projects. Foxx has been meeting with Australian transportation officials at the federal and state levels, as well as key private sector leaders, to learn more about Australia’s experience with P3s, and to identify strategies that could foster the growth of successful P3s in the USA.
Australia is a recognized leader in employing P3s to support a wide array of infrastructure projects, allowing smaller government investments to gain access to much larger amounts of private capital in order to support the construction of roads, bridges, transit systems and other mobility programs. Foxx is also using his visit to Australia to highlight the US Department of Transportation (USDOT)’s newly-launched Build America Bureau, which serves as a one-stop shop for government and private sector entities looking for innovative ways, including P3s, to fund infrastructure projects.
“In this era of globalization and interdependence, cooperative partnerships around the world are a necessity, and we’re fortunate to have great friends in Australia who understand this imperative,” said Foxx. “Today we committed to strengthening our long-standing cooperative relationship, in order to harness data and best practices to build safer and smarter transportation systems.”
Chester noted, “This agreement with the United States will provide a mutually beneficial knowledge base for delivering 21st century transport infrastructure solutions, as technology driven cities and regions become a reality. We are already seeing the results of this cooperation. We discussed a range of issues, including our use of public-private partnerships to deliver major projects, leveraging private sector investment in infrastructure, and best practice in project development, as well as the use of intelligent transport systems in congested cities. Australia was also the first country in the world to regulate drones and Secretary Foxx was eager to learn more about how the Australian system works. Fruitful discussions such as these will pay future dividends for citizens of both countries. I am delighted that we have reached agreement on this Memorandum of Cooperation, and I am looking forward to ongoing engagement with the United States on these important issues.”