Pennsylvania Takes an Important Step Forward on Public-Private Partnerships


On July 5, 2012, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett approved a key first step toward modernizing the procurement of infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania by signing legislation that expressly authorizes public-private partnerships (P3) for road, transit and other transportation related projects. The Pennsylvania legislation focuses on transportation projects for both new and existing infrastructure. The General Assembly viewed the P3 legislation as a means to fund and promote transportation projects to help provide the estimated $3.5 billion per year additional investment needed for transportation infrastructure without relying exclusively on tax revenue to fund those projects. Whether Pennsylvania’s P3 legislation stimulates new transportation infrastructure projects remains to be seen, but the law provides some interesting new options to private and public parties seeking to develop transportation infrastructure in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania P3 Act (Act 88 of 2012) is limited to transportation projects, but takes an expansive view of this term. The Act authorizes the creation or improvement of a “transportation facility.” A “transportation facility” includes typical transportation structures such as bridges, roads and parking lots, but also includes multimodal facilities, airports, terminals and ports, together with their associated structures. The term also includes intelligent transportation systems and other property needed to operate or related to the operation of the transportation facility. Thus, the Act would appear to authorize use of P3 approaches in a rather expansive range of projects related to transportation.

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