DOT: Public-private transportation partnerships soar to record levels

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The number of public-private partnerships in the U.S. transportation sector has soared to record levels in recent years and continues to climb, according to a new study announced Tuesday, July 22, by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“This nationwide trend on the part of state and local governments is further proof that innovative approaches to financing and managing transportation are increasingly attractive compared to traditional tax-and-spend methods,” Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said. “States and local governments across the country are recognizing public-private partnerships are an effective means to deliver transportation projects.”

The new report found that more transportation public-private partnerships were completed over the last three years than in any other compatible time period in history. According to the report, more than 20 major highway and transit projects currently are being conducted in partnership with the private sector at various stages of development in the United States.

The report also found that the use of public-private partnerships is increasing at a record pace due to their proven track record of relieving congestion and encouraging infrastructure development, Peters said; they do this by substituting or adding private capital for fuel tax revenue and helping leaders tap into the more than $400 billion of private capital available globally for investment in infrastructure.

Another find shows that states and localities can reduce project costs, accelerate project delivery and transfer risks to the private sector while also protecting public-sector interests through well-balanced concession agreements, Peters said.

“Together, we can make more of these projects happen throughout Virginia and across America,” Deputy Secretary Thomas Barrett said in announcing the study at a groundbreaking for new High Occupancy Toll lanes on the Capital Beltway in Virginia.

A full copy of the report, “Innovation Wave: An Update on the Burgeoning Private Sector Role in U.S. Highway and Transit Infrastructure,” can be found here.