Across America, chronic underinvestment has left roads, bridges, public transit, school buildings, and other critical infrastructure in need of serious replacement and repair. To fund this infrastructure gap, some cash-strapped municipalities have turned to public-private partnerships, also known as “P3s,” which use private capital to finance public projects.
The report, Building America While Building Our Middle Class, outlines best practices to ensure that P3 infrastructure projects help tackle inequality and rebuild America’s middle class. Like publicly financed projects, P3s have the potential to create middle class pathways for disadvantaged communities if they include policies regarding job quality and equity.
How can public-private partnerships tackle inequality?
The report also offers recommendations for ensuring that P3’s build the middle class while building communities with safe infrastructure. Some of these recommendations include:
- Incorporate job quality and equity policies, like prevailing wage standards and apprenticeship utilization requirements, into P3 enabling legislation and/or project contracts.
- Incorporate targeted hire programs into the construction, operations, and maintenance of infrastructure to ensure that disadvantaged communities, like low-income families, women, people of color, and those with a criminal record, have real opportunities.
- Create Community Workforce Agreements (CWAs) that establish targeted hiring goals, training opportunities, and jobs for communities of need.
- Establish boards or other advisory bodies for oversight of equity programs and policies.
This report was produced by In the Public Interest and the Partnership for Working Families.
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