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Q2 2024 Pulse Survey results are now live

US remains top investment location, while the UK lags behind its peers

The biannual pulse survey by the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA) – which represents more than 100 of the world’s top investors and advisors in the sector – has found that the US has further widened its appeal over other countries since last year.

The results come alongside ‘Bridging the Gap’, a recent economic report by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which warns that – even with billions of extra dollars available through bipartisan infrastructure bills – the US faces a huge, long-term funding gap.

‘The ASCE report makes clear that big increases in public funding delivered under bipartisan infrastructure bills must continue. But that alone is not enough. Private investors see a huge opportunity to help state and city governments with the private finance and expertise they need to fix their problems,” says Jon Phillips, chief executive of GIIA.

“These global investors have decades of experience of working with public sector partners to finance and manage high-quality infrastructure in countries like Canada, the UK, mainland Europe and Australia. They now see the opportunity to help in the US and are willing and ready to play their part.”

International investors have particularly ranked the US for the attractiveness of its digital and renewable energy infrastructure sectors. Sentiment has also turned more positive for investing private finance in the transportation sector, including airports, tolled roads and bridges, railways, and seaports.

GIIA’s survey of global investors finds that the US authorities do need to address certain barriers to private investment, including a lack of clarity on funding models, a lack of visibility on future project pipelines, and further streamlining of permitting processes that enable quicker decisions and get improved infrastructure up and running faster. 

“Governments around the world are in a global competition to attract private finance and skills, and that includes the U.S. To succeed, elected politicians and officials must develop their skills in building partnerships with the private sector. The appetite among investors to work with state and municipal governments to fill the funding gap is substantial”, says Phillips.

Meanwhile the UK faces a tough challenge to restore its reputation with global investors. The country has lost further ground against other investment destinations in mainland Europe and north America, and has slipped into negative territory in the survey for the first time, having fallen from top to bottom of the list of attractive European destinations two years ago.

The two biggest concerns for investors are political instability, reflected in having had five Prime Ministers since the European Union membership vote in 2016, and an unattractive regulatory regime, where the UK was once regarded as setting the international gold standard.

The National Infrastructure Commission, which advises the government on the country’s infrastructure needs, estimated last year that the UK will need overall to invest £70-80 billion per year during the 2030s, made up of £40-50 billion per year of private investment and £30 billion per year of public funding. 

“The hesitancy towards the UK underscores the need for the next government to create a stable and investible policy and regulatory environment,” says Phillips.

“This will restore the confidence of investors who stand ready to provide the expertise and long-term finance for infrastructure that boosts the economy, where they are confident of earning a fair return.”

Read and download the report from the top right of this page.