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TRB P3 Resources

The Effect of Public-Private Partnerships and Non-Traditional Procurement Processes on Highway Planning, Environmental Review, and Collaborative Decision Making
This study assesses the interplay between the use of public-private partnerships (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 framework of the established Decision Guide was considered throughout this process with special attention paid to how P3 procurements interface and influence it. The research demonstrates that there is a great deal of flexibility in the use of P3 strategies, and the report will explore the different points in the overall project development process when private involvement can be introduced. It also highlights the distinction between deciding to procure a project on a P3 basis and using the MPO and NEPA processes as a platform for vetting P3 delivery as an option for moving needed projects forward.

NCHRP Synthesis 391: Public Sector Decision Making for Public-Private Partnerships
This synthesis examines the information available in the United States 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 process. The synthesis also includes the results of two surveys. The first survey examined state DOTs, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 13 Canadian provinces. A second survey of interested parties was taken by 24 individuals who were identified by the authors and the topic panel, and had been publicized at the 2008 Annual Meeting of TRB.

The numerous topics of interest related to P3 decision-making were divided into three major categories: (1) project selection and delivery; (2) transparency; and (3) terms of P3 agreements.

Three major themes emerged from the research and surveys:

  1. How might governments decide whether or not to pursue a P3? Issues to consider include: the valuation of alternative approaches; appropriate risk transfer; transparency and public participation; and the unavoidable complexity of transactions.
  2. How might the public interest be protected? It is important to ensure that the private sector has the proper motivations to protect the public interest, while allowing investors to meet a return on the investment that is in line with the risk they take. Considerations include appropriate use of revenues, maintaining environmental standards, maintaining fair labor practices, and ensuring that the private sector meets safety, maintenance, and other standards specified by contract.
  3. Misperceptions about P3s can be a distraction from the real issues. Three identified misperceptions that require public education include: non-compete clauses are always part of P3s with a long-term lease component; a P3 is a synonym for tolls and with that toll increases are inevitable, resulting in windfall profits; and the public sector loses total control of the facility.
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