It's encouraging to see that statehouses in both Ohio and Illinois are making significant progress this legislative session on enacting new laws to facilitate infrastructure public-private partnerships (PPPs). As I wrote in my new commentary on the development of Ohio's PPP legislation:
Governments around the world have shown they can partner with private firms to finance and develop new highways, bridges and other infrastructure vital to our economy. Public-private partnerships offer a way to bring new sources of capital to the table as “traditional” sources like fuel taxes and government borrowing dry up in an increasingly challenging fiscal environment.
The piece goes on to offer two key suggestions to improve the current language on PPPs in active legislation in Ohio (House Bill 153). Namely, I recommend: (1) the establishment of a PPP "center of excellence" to evaluate, select and conduct due diligence on potential PPP projects, and (2) expanding the scope of PPP authority beyond just transportation projects to schools, hospitals and other social infrastructure projects, as Virginia, Puerto Rico, many Canadian and Australian provinces, the UK and others have done.
Reason Foundation has advocated PPPs for decades, and given the emerging interest in this issue in the aforementioned states and others, I thought it might be useful to compile links to some of our additional reading on the subject for those interested in more details, best practices and myths-vs-facts on this exciting policy innovation:
- Annual Privatization Report 2010: SurfaceTransportation (covers the latest developments in domestic and international transportation PPPs)
- Annual Privatization Report 2010: State Government (covers a range of PPP developments, including features on California's new $492 million privately financed courthouse project and Puerto Rico's cutting edge PPP program, which involves roads, schools, water and more)
- Testimony: Modernizing and Expanding Pennsylvania's Transportation Infrastructure through Public-Private Partnerships (legislative testimony I presented to a Pennsylvania House committee in late 2009 covering myths vs. facts on PPPs, essential pieces of state PPP enabling legislation and more)
- TIFIA Is a Powerful Tool In Financing Large-Scale Infrastructure Projects (this new report from Reason's Robert Poole examines the role of TIFIA, a federal credit assistance program that's helping to facilitate a range of transportation PPPs nationwide)
- The Role for Public-Private Partnerships in Modernizing and Expanding Nebraska's Transportation System (this joint study by the Platte Institute and Reason Foundation offers a comprehensive overview of PPPs in transportation)
- Leasing State Toll Roads: Frequently Asked Questions
- Building New Roads Through Public-Private Partnerships: Frequently Asked Questions
And for some useful additional reading, see:
- Innovative Program Delivery: Public-Private Partnerships (the Federal Highway Administration's one-stop shop for PPP resources)
- Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation: A Toolkit for Legislators (the National Conference of State Legislature's legislative toolkit on transportation PPPs, including state legislative overviews, key components of legislation and much more)