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Former KPMG principal to head US infra task force

James Ray, a P3 specialist who previously served under the Bush administration, has joined the US Department of Transportation as a senior advisor.

James Ray, a former KPMG principal with a background in P3s, will head an infrastructure task force for the US Department of Transportation.

Ray joined the DOT this week as a senior advisor, a source familiar with the hire told Infrastructure Investor. He previously served as a deputy general counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget and as chief counsel, deputy administrator and acting administrator for the Federal Highway Administration.

He started within KPMG’s corporate finance team in 2012, focusing on public sector infrastructure for the firm. Prior to joining KPMG, Ray launched a firm advising public and private entities on P3s and infrastructure financing. According to his bio, he “possesses a keen understanding of the legal, regulatory, policy and business frameworks underpinning public-private-partnerships”.

Ray joins an administration that seems eager to promote P3s as part of a plan to boost infrastructure spending. Both President Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao have called for greater private sector investment in infrastructure, while a white paper released by two Trump advisors prior to the election proposed offering tax credits to spur infrastructure investment.

During his campaign, Trump said he planned to push for $500 billion to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. Chao said earlier this month that an infrastructure plan could be released as soon as May. Many Democrats and several Republicans, however, have resisted the idea of rebuilding infrastructure solely through private spending.