This report focuses on opportunities to better integrate nontraditional procurement methods and P3s into the transportation planning process. It reviews legal issues such as state enabling legislation, federal statutes, and planning regulations. It assesses the interplay between the use of P3s and the transportation and environmental planning processes in order to identify how and when P3s should be considered as a means to procure transportation improvements. The research demonstrates that there is a great deal of flexibility in the use of P3 strategies, and the report explores the different points in the overall project development process when private involvement can be introduced.
This digest provides a broad overview of the major legal issues that are likely to arise in the implementation of P3s in the U.S. highway sector and possible solutions implemented to comply with those legal requirements. Although the use of toll and other pricing revenues is a common way to finance private participation in highway projects, there remain significant restrictions under federal and state law on the ability to implement such direct user fees in particular circumstances. Other potential legal issues arise out of limitations on public and private financing methods, environmental review requirements, labor and employment laws, and public procurement standards.
This synthesis examines the information available in the U.S. and internationally that is needed to properly evaluate the benefits and risks associated with allowing the private sector to have a greater role in the financing and development of highway infrastructure, and how that information can be used in the decision-making processes about project selection and delivery, transparency, and terms of P3 agreements. Major themes explored include the decision whether or not to pursue a P3, protecting the public interest, and misperceptions about P3s that can distract from real issues.