By Kevin Pula
Representative Ed Soliday (R-Ind.) outlined his state's public-private partnership (P3) experience with both a toll road and a bridge project during a discussion on P3s that was part of the third annual Infrastructure Week in Washington, D.C.
NCSL partnered with the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) and the National League of Cities (NLC) for the discussion about P3s and their role in solving the infrastructure crisis.
Soliday shared Indiana’s recent experience with a variety of P3s. He spoke about the unique circumstances surrounding the Ohio River Bridges Project, complicated by the fact that Kentucky did not have statutory authority to enter into a transportation P3. This legislative dichotomy led to an agreement for Indiana to construct, maintain and operate the East End Crossing under a P3 and Kentucky to be responsible for the Downtown Crossing utilizing traditional project finance.
Soliday described the Indiana Toll Road (ITR) project, including the recent bankruptcy of the private-sector partner and the transfer of the roadway to another concessionaire. Soliday said Indiana experienced no financial loss through the transition, protected by the concessionaire agreement, and at no time did the highway experience any lapse in maintenance.
He also discussed the legislative landscape around the country. Since 2013 at least 35 states have considered 193 P3-related bills. So far in 2015, Indiana (HB 1001) and Virginia (HB 1886) tweaked their existing P3 laws to expand the permitted projects and increase public-interest, respectively. Georgia (SB 59) also passed legislation to expand P3 authority to include localities and municipalities in addition to state agencies.
You can see all considered and passed legislation relating to P3s and other transportation funding and finance issues by visiting NCSL’s Transportation Funding and Finance Legislation Database.
Soliday was joined by Councilman Matt Zone of Cleveland, the second vice president of NLC; Art Smith, president of NCPPP; and representatives from the private partners of three current P3 projects.
The audience, made up of people from the public-sector, private-sector, academia and nonprofit, heard additional remarks about a water/wastewater project in Bayonne, N.J., a large-scale public works P3 arrangement in Centennial, Colo., and Pennsylvania’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project.
A video recording of the event is available online through NCPPP’s YouTube Channel.
May 11-15 marks the third annual Infrastructure Week occurring in Washington, D.C. ,on. Public sector, private sector and nonprofit stakeholders from around the country have convened in the nation’s capital to highlight the importance of infrastructure investment.
Kevin Pula is a policy associate with NCSL’s Environment, Energy and Transportation program.