(Nikkei: July 16, 2015 – p. 5)
The government plans to review the distribution method of the “disaster prevention and safety subsidies” used for the renovation or maintenance of infrastructure from FY2016. The renovation plans of local governments for infrastructure and public facilities and private finance initiatives (PFI) to use private sector funding for social infrastructure will be rated positively. Distribution of subsidies will give priority to projects such as integration of public facilities in anticipation of population decline. This is meant to cut back on mid- and long-term infrastructure renovation costs.
The government is asking the local governments to draw up “comprehensive management plans for public facilities” that include future plans for building infrastructure and public facilities. As of last April, only 75 municipal governments, or 4%, had completed their plans. The government is prodding local governments to develop plans by revising the method of distribution of subsidies totaling over 1 trillion yen.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) will cooperate with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to set the criteria for assessing the plans. Specifically, one criterion is whether there is a clear estimate of the maintenance and administration costs of current facilities. Integration of public facilities in anticipation of population decline and PFIs will also be a criterion. According to the MLIT’s estimates, maintenance, administration, and renovation of infrastructure cost a record 5.1 trillion yen in FY2013, increasing by 40% in 10 years.