Public-Private Partnerships: A Growing Trend (Part I)


This article is part one of a series of three articles by the author regarding public-private partnerships.

At an increasing rate, state and local governments are considering public-private partnerships, or "P3s," to finance, design and build public infrastructure projects. A P3 refers to a contractual agreement between a public agency and a private entity, whereby the private entity provides the financing, design, development, construction, operation, and/or maintenance of a public infrastructure project. It could be said that the trend in the U.S. toward P3 financing structures began in 1989, when California enacted Assembly Bill 680, authorizing P3s for several transportation projects and leading to the construction of two toll roads in Southern California. Today more than half the states have P3-enabling legislation, and P3s are being considered for an increasing number of projects. Canada has likewise seen the growth of P3s in recent years, with 27 such projects reaching financial closing between 2004 and 2007. Indeed, Canada now has a federal P3 office, and P3 agencies in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.

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