As governments reduce spending on infrastructure, private companies are moving into airports big and small, paying for private terminals with new types of services and teaming with local agencies to renovate existing terminals, The New York Times reports.
As many as a third of the airports in the United States were privately owned before the Great Depression and the infusion of New Deal spending, but wartime needs changed the dynamic. Since then, there has been an antipathy toward private ownership of, and investment in, public infrastructure. Now, it’s estimated airports will need nearly $100 billion for capital projects over the next five years, but will only be able to finance about half that amount.
Public-private partnerships, or P3s, have created new possibilities for airports, which have struggled for years to find the money to improve terminals and accommodate an increase in passengers and cargo.