Five Things to Know about Private Investors and Federal Infrastructure Plans

The Canadian Press, November 14, 2016 | Go to article overview

Five Things to Know about Private Investors and Federal Infrastructure Plans


Why feds are wooing infrastructure investors

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OTTAWA - The federal Liberals are banking on landing cash from domestic and foreign investors to finance their vaunted infrastructure plan. Monday was the government's big chance to woo private investors with the help of a major investment company. Here are some things to know about the meeting and the context behind it.

1) The federal government could use the cash. The Liberal infrastructure program is large -- more than $90 billion over the next 11 years -- and the plan rests on using $15 billion of that money and $20 billion more in seed capital to leverage three or four times as much investment from the private sector. The extra money would help the government pay for its infrastructure promises and help keep another: maintaining a downward trend in the debt-to-GDP ratio. If that ratio goes up, it would signal that the economy and tax revenues aren't growing fast enough to help pay for more federal debt.

2) Trudeau and many members of his cabinet met Monday with representatives from central banks, sovereign wealth funds, insurers and pension funds that collectively control as much as $21 trillion in capital. The meeting may not have happened without the help of investment firm BlackRock Inc. The company is a major player on the international investment stage and its chairman, Larry Fink, has been described as one of the most powerful financial executives in the world.

3) It would be wrong to think that the government is only looking at foreign cash to help finance its domestic agenda. The Liberals see domestic funds as a way to fund projects quickly, especially smaller ones that don't interest large investment firms. Early investment and success in the government's promised infrastructure bank, which will be the vehicle to leverage private investment in public infrastructure projects, is critical. …

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