U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters
I want to be clear about where the Bush Administration stands, where U.S DOT and Secretary Mineta stand, and where FHWA stands. We are for public-private partnerships. We support them. We want to make them easier -- much easier -- to do.
Public Private Partnerships apply to more than major construction projects involving tolls. They also apply to operations, maintenance, and asset management. In addition to supplementing public funding sources, other benefits of PPPs may include improved:
Despite notable successes in such projects as the Alameda Corridor and less than two weeks ago the groundbreaking of SR 125S near San Diego... public private partnerships are still viewed by many in transportation as unique and fraught with legal, financial, and administrative hurdles.
Abundant experience in the use of PPPs in other areas, and the growing experience in transportation illustrate that these hurdles can be overcome. We can lower costs and speed project completion. In a time of funding shortages at all levels of government, it is particularly important that we look to opportunities for the private sector to participate in funding transportation infrastructure improvements.
UNION STATION EXAMPLE
Union Station's revitalization in the 1980s is an excellent example of PPP. The project is considered a prototype for the "inter-modal center of the future." Here's what the Washington Post wrote in July of 1991:
"Three years after it opened as a kind of mall into which trains run ...Union Station has blossomed into the kind of yeasty social gathering center transcending race and class that visionary planners of old urban cores have advocated for generations, but rarely achieved."
This bustling facility serves 50,000 Amtrak travelers daily, Maryland Area Railway Commuter (MARC) riders, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) subway riders, and bus riders, tourist bus passengers, taxicabs, office and government workers, and area residents.
While transit clearly is the essential function, the addition of a shopping mall allows this place to serve as a central square where neighborhood residents and others can go to shop, eat, and meet friends.
SAFETEA, our bill to reauthorize TEA-21, has several sections on innovative finance.
SAFETY IN SAFETEA
Safety is a big part of our bill. SAFETEA doubles the amount of funding for safety over TEA-21 levels. It would invest about $14 billion to reduce highway fatalities, prevent injuries and encourage safe driving -- including funding for grants to address drunk driving and promote safety belt use.
Secretary Mineta has challenged the entire Department to be safety advocates -- to raise the bar on safety. Our goal is to reduce preventable deaths to no more than one per one hundred million vehicle miles traveled by 2008.
FHWA's Office of Policy has started a project with NCPPP and several other organizations to conduct a series of workshops to identify best practices in public private partnerships.
The workshops will target elected officials and other transportation decision makers to answer some of the questions that inevitably come up when considering public-private partnerships. The workshops will highlight some of the successful projects that have been implemented in transportation and other areas including how legal, financial, and administrative hurdles were overcome. These workshops will build on issues discussed at today's afternoon sessions. I want to hear your recommendations as we move forward.
HIGHWAYS FOR LIFE
That principle of flexibility to address local problems with local solutions led us to create a new initiative to Congress called Highways for LIFE. L-I-F-E stands for Long Lasting, Innovative, Fast Construction, Efficient and Safe.
Highways for LIFE is an effort to fundamentally change the way we do business and serve our customers. We propose to dedicate a portion of our overall federal surface transportation program to motivate states to embrace innovation and creativity.
Simply stated, we want to work with you and the entire transportation community -- again in partnership -- to build highways faster and make them last longer. We've all seen examples of excellence -- things being done faster, things being done better. Why can't we do that all the time, everywhere?
This important new initiative will be formally proposed to Congress soon. We feel that we can make it a reality only through a strong partnership with you and the highway industry to fully shape the proposal.
Our transportation system is indispensable to our quality of life and to our economy.
There are tremendous benefits from public-private partnerships. The U.S. Department of Transportation is doing all we can to encourage public private partnerships and we want to remove constraints that hinder projects.