Planned, Purposeful InfrastructureThu, 11/01/2018 - 12:45
Transport infrastructure builds bridges that create social and economic cohesion across cities, states, regions, countries and continents and can especially help isolated communities thrive. But these bridges should follow a plan and a purpose, says Leopoldo Zambonino, Director General of MEXTYPSA. “Transport infrastructure catalyzes the economic development of the whole country but it must be based on a holistic infrastructure development plan to accurately prioritize projects,” he says.
MEXTYPSA is a global engineering consulting group working across multiple infrastructure sectors, such as water and roads. Present in Mexico since 2008, the company acknowledges the improvement the country has made in developing road infrastructure to connect such a rich geography. “Mexico has around 42,000km of freeway roads. The government is starting to invest in performance schemes for these roads,” he says, adding that MEXTYPSA is positioned to capitalize on this opportunity. “We want to provide the highest quality to deliver a higher value to all our business divisions.”
But Zambonino also thinks that despite the great effort made, there is yet much to do, especially regarding permits. “Projects are stopped given the difficulties with rights of way. The public good should transcend personal interest to promote macroeconomic development,” he explains.
Before addressing this issue, the industry has yet to see what the next administration’s plan for the sector is. “We have yet to receive more information regarding AMLO’s infrastructure priorities, but I am hopeful about his announced intention to bring development to lagging regions,” he says. “Public works are likely to be slowed down by the transition period, but we foresee a lot of activity from the private sector, in which we keep a strong focus.”
While expectant about the next development plan, he demands more clarity from the government to see the infrastructure road ahead. “We need coordinated actions for a long-term development regardless of who is president,” he says.
Long-term strategic planning is also crucial to give certainty to investors, setting steadier grounds for pursuing a collaborative development. “I think public-private collaborations are key to deliver a better service to end-users,” he says. Prioritizing end-users, Zambonino also remarks on two contract schemes ideal for PPPs. “MRO and ASS contracts are focused on service and performance standards, so contractors are paid not by m3 but by service. As these favor the users, I think is what the government should aim for,” he adds.
Going deeper into the complexities of PPPs, Zambonino explains it is also important to understand each PPP separately as there is no perfect recipe that can be applied to all projects under this scheme. Accordingly, MEXTYPSA is convinced of the importance of having a specialized team of collaborators in infrastructure financing. “We have created a whole department for infrastructure funding, providing an enhanced structure for every PPP,” he says. From the financial run to the CAPEX investment, he highlights this department as simply crucial for the achievement of projects.
Sharing a success story, he acknowledges Banobras’ and SCT’s performance working on PPPs, entities with which MEXTYPSA has collaborated multiple times. “Our operational models are aligned and I believe that we have learned together to provide a better and safer service to users,” he says.