Friday, June 6, 2014

What's the key to successful public private partnerships?

As it becomes more and more difficult to acquire more tax revenue for transportation projects, it has many experts exploring ways to attract private money to pay for infrastructure improvements. A task force of the Eno Center for Transportation released a report last month looking at the nuts and bolts of making public-private partnerships (P3) succeed.  The task force, led by former U.S. transportation secretaries Norm Mineta and Mary Peters made recommendations for state and federal governments.

Here were the recommendations for state and local governments:

1.  Adopt effective enabling legislation.  Many governments have legislation that prevents these partnerships.  The task force recommends the enabling legislation have broad and flexible project eligibility, a transparent project selection process, funding regulations and contract provisions among other things.

2.  Establish appropriate institutional structures and management policies. The task force recommends that states create new institutions to manage P3 procurements efforts.  The report encourages states to develop standard practices and train staff effectively to partner with private companies.

3. Promote public engagement.  The final and perhaps most important piece is to engage the public early and often to improve project outcomes and build support.

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