The Great Global Building Boom

These stocks and funds turn public works into investment profits.

Investors are waking up to the sound of jackhammers worldwide. In the next 20 years, the tab to build and maintain roads and bridges, and to create and maintain systems that deliver electricity, water, sanitation and telecom services, will swell to $30 trillion. Rich countries must upgrade decades-old infrastructure, and developing nations must build it to make their economies competitive.

Infrastructure investments can provide dependable returns. Consider the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System, now managed by a private Australian and Spanish consortium that collects $3 each time a car uses the 7.8-mile span. Says Arthur Simonson, managing director of Standard & Poor's utilities and infrastructure rating group: "These types of assets generate very steady cash flows. They're bond-like." Ernst & Young figures that as much as $240 billion to $360 billion a year in private investments could be used to finance infrastructure projects worldwide.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Bob Frick
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance