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AIA Unveils Model Law: Infrastructure Delivery in the “Sharing Economy”
By Yvonne Castillo, Director, State & Local Government Relations

    In the post-recession climate, everyone’s creativity is at high alert, including the AIA, to solve the infrastructure challenges of doing more with less. AIA has taken its cue from a national movement being called the “Sharing Economy” where state and local governments are finding ways to remove legal barriers for people and businesses to share resources and costs. Some well-known outcomes of the “sharing economy” are programs like bike-sharing, car-sharing, apartment sharing for travelers, cooperative farming, cooperative housing, gardening programs, “tiny” homes, accessory dwelling units, and programs that enable the beloved food trucks to share public parks. The AIA contends that it is time for publicly-funded assets -- be they public schools, public libraries, municipal and county buildings, higher education buildings, federal buildings – to be shared in a like manner.

    For example, what if, as a start, state law required all public entities who owned property to develop and maintain a comprehensive inventory (and master site plan) of all buildings and real estate holdings? Even better, what if each building’s condition (poor, fair, good) had to be assessed periodically? A legislatively-required process this basic could help public entities identify where their facility-related priorities should be, which could then help public entities meaningfully engage with other public entities to seek out opportunities for joint development, operation and use (public-public partnerships). The bottom line is that the current siloed-way of delivering infrastructure buildings can’t be sustained and the AIA has some real solutions.

    While public-public partnership planning is one policy solution; another is public-private partnership (P3) project delivery where the private sector, under certain circumstances, is authorized to design, build, finance, and maintain a public building over a long-term contract. The “circumstances,” however must be clearly defined. Here’s where, again, the AIA has invested significant research resources of national and international scope to find out where the real value for money lies in pursuing P3 projects.

    Next month, AIA will be unveiling a model state law, consistent with the “sharing economy” movement, which introduces these two innovative approaches to public construction. It is a policy that we believe will be replicated across the globe as a best practice for governments to deliver public buildings. No doubt lawmakers from each jurisdiction will find ways to improve upon the model law to accommodate local needs, but its DNA is uniquely AIA. Stay tuned as we finalize the model law and help our state components move this policy forward.


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This content is published by the AIA Government and Community Relations Department, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20006. To contact the AIA’s Government & Community Relations team, send an email to govaffs@aia.org.

 

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