'The Way Forward': What Would Expanded Public-Private Partnerships Look Like?

Robert Puentes and Bruce Katz call for expanded partnerships to build the infrastructure of the future. These new partnerships will require customization by sector and the development of new models for revenue and risk sharing.

"As public dollars become scarcer, the next generation of American infrastructure will require the public, private, and civic sectors to engage and partner in new ways," explain Robert Puentes and Bruce Katz, both of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

"[That] means almost all solutions will have public and private elements. The United States should endeavour to move beyond simplistic notions of 'privatization' to a future of infrastructure with true partnerships between government agencies, private firms, financiers, and the general public. This is how many nations, such as Canada, successfully develop infrastructure today. But south of the border, the nature and mix of public and private arrangements will likely be customized depending not only on individual transactions, but also on the nature of the particular sector."

"For some sectors like intra-metropolitan transportation (roads, bridges, and transit), we expect the lion’s share of revenue will need to be raised by public means or through innovative market mechanisms. But there are other infrastructure classes and projects that we believe are potentially appropriate as public-private partnerships (P3s), which can take a wide range of forms, but, at their heart, include risk and cost sharing in the design, building, maintenance, financing, or operations of an asset."

Full Story: The Way Forward

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