The National Academies

SHRP 2 C12 [Completed]

The Effect of Public-Private Partnerships and Non-Traditional Procurement Processes on Highway Planning, Environmental Review, and Collaborative Decision Making

  Project Data
Funds: $299,730
Research Agency: PB Americas, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Ben Perez
Effective Date: 9/28/2010
Completion Date: 11/30/2012

Project snapshot. More details below.

(Project Number)
Impact on Practice
Product Status
Considering Public-Private Partnerships in the Planning Process (C12)

A business process to help determine when and how to consider private-sector participation in the project planning process. The report addresses tolling, design-build, design-build-operate, leasing, and other forms of private-sector involvement.
Although private financing can attract new funding and can even expedite projects, it can also create tradeoffs that must be weighed against other stakeholder issues, such as environmental or neighborhood impacts. This report helps assess how and when to consider P3s as a means to procure transportation improvements.

Staff Responsibility: Stephen J. Andrle
As state governments face budget gaps and revenue shortfalls, interest in tolling and the use of public-private partnerships (P3) procurement to deliver highway improvements continues to grow. Private funds are attractive in situations where public funding limitations would not allow a desired highway to be built for many years and the revenue-generating potential of a facility is deemed feasible. In notable cases, existing Interstate Highway facilities have been leased to private companies to generate cash to build other roads and to provide a funding mechanism for future renewal. Design-build contracts have been used to reduce delay between the design and construction and to provide for innovation. Design-build can be used under the traditional highway ownership model or it can be a component of a public-private partnership. There are many combinations of partnerships and delivery options and a variety of state laws governing the use of these techniques, resulting in considerable confusion in how they should be considered in the fiscally constrained public transportation planning, programming, environmental review, and decision processes. As of the end of this research project, 32 states and Puerto Rico have enacted P3 authorization legislation, and several of these bills have been either enacted or expanded in the past six years. While the overall volume of P3 projects remains a fraction of the overall investment in highway infrastructure in the United States, it is likely to expand in the near future, largely due to the continuing shortfall of public funding.
The objective of this project was to determine how public-private partnerships and/or nontraditional procurement methods should be considered at appropriate decision points in the transportation decision-making process to facilitate project delivery.
This project assessed the interplay between the use of 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 Transportation for Communities—Advancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP) Decision Guide was consulted throughout this process with special attention to how P3 procurements interface and influence it.
The primary product of the research is a report on the nature, timing, and implementation of P3 projects. Experience in the United States demonstrates that there is a great deal of flexibility in the use of P3 strategies, and the report explores the different points in the overall project development process when private involvement can be introduced. The second aspect of the research involves identifying points in the Decision Guide when it is beneficial to consider the use of P3s in developing projects and ultimately mapping the findings on the implementation of P3 projects to the various steps in the Decision Guide. The report also explores other types of nontraditional contracting arrangements and their impact on the project development process set forth in the Decision Guide.
Status: This project is complete. 

Product Availability: The final report is available as a prepublication document. TCAPP is available at www.transportationforcommunities.com.

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