Last week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Len Boselovic published a comprehensive four-part series on public-private partnerships, or P3s – deals between the public and private sectors to fund roads, waterways and other public infrastructure. And I just published a column on Huffington Post on how these P3s can be structured to protect taxpayers from being taken to the cleaners.
Experts have estimated that the U.S. needs to invest $3.6 trillion in the next seven years to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. That hefty price tag has led governments to explore public-private partnerships. As we’ve seen, a poorly structured P3 can place major financial risks on taxpayers, best exemplified by Chicago’s infamous parking meter debacle.
When a P3 is structured as a “win-win-win” proposition, it can result in a win for the public with rebuilt infrastructure like roads or government buildings, a win for the economy in the creation of good jobs that lift local families out of poverty, and a win for investors who receive an adequate rate of return.