RCI Offers Model for Upgrading Nation’s Infrastructure
The Army’s Residential Communities Initiative (RCI), which resulted in the construction of 85,000 new and renovated houses and community facilities for military families, offers a number of lessons the federal government could follow to address its infrastructure needs across all agencies, according to a commentary in the Baltimore Sun.
The foundation of the RCI program’s success was the Army’s ability to attract private capital to invest in family housing, wrote Sandy Apgar, assistant secretary of the Army for installations and environment during the Clinton administration. The program attracted $6 in private investment for every taxpayer dollar, helping the Army clear a backlog of $7 billion in unfunded maintenance costs.
The government fundamentally changed its approach to providing housing to bring about RCI’s success. The Army reached out to industry leaders to learn what incentives would encourage them to participate and what changes were needed to reform its procurement process.
The RCI model could be extended within DOD as well as to the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Veterans Affairs to reduce the nation’s $2 trillion infrastructure deficit, according to Apgar.