Value Capture: Asset Recycling
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      Asset recycling is a value capture mechanism by which public entities derive revenue to invest in new transportation infrastructure by leasing existing toll highway facilities to private sector investors. Given that existing toll facilities have a proven revenue-generation history, investing in asset recycling projects is attractive to private investors because it offers a stable return and far less risk than investing in new toll facilities. In addition to generating new revenue in the form of lease payments, asset recycling also enables project sponsors to transfer the ongoing maintenance and operating costs to the private sector. In many cases, asset recycling projects also require private sector investors to make capital improvements or expand the capacity of the leased facilities. Although asset recycling does not involve increasing public debt, it does require that sponsoring agencies cede all or a portion of the revenue generated by recycled toll facilities for the duration of the lease period. Asset recycling has been used extensively in Australia, where the national government established an AU$5 billion incentive program in 2013. The Australian program provides State governments with an additional 15 percent in national funding of the capital raised from recycled assets. Between 2013 and 2016, a total of AU$15 billion was raised in Australia from recycling existing transportation power-generation assets. The State of New South Wales also created Infrastructure NSW to act as an independent body in overseeing the asset recycling process. Infrastructure NSW has funded three new highway projects using revenue generated by its asset recycling program: Newell Highway, an AU$78.8 million, 28-kilometer facility in an important freight corridor; an AU$52.5 million, 9.8-kilometer extension of Princes Highway; and the AU$30.4 million, 12-kilometer New England Highway bypass route. To help support the use of asset recycling in the United States, the Administration’s infrastructure plan calls for allowing private companies to use private activity bonds to raise funding to make lease payments for recycled assets, providing access to tax-exempt debt asset recycling. This may provide the impetus to launch new asset recycling projects in the United States.
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